What are my options in this civil claim?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What are my options in this civil claim?

My son a minor was fired from his job at a local grocery store for using his discount card for customers that did not have one and did not want to get one. He was not informed prior that this was unacceptable and now I have received a letter from an attorney stating that I owe $282 related to this theft incident. I called the store and they said it was for costs involved with the investigation of my sons wrong doing. What are my options for this $282 request?

Asked on August 25, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You may not have good options. I am assuming your son is a minor--otherwise, it would be him, not you, who would be liable. A parent or legal guardian is liable for the wrongful acts of their minor children.
If that is the case, you would be liable for the costs associated with your son's wrongful act. Not everything needs to be spelled out in an official policy to be forbidden--some things are simply obvious enough that employees should know them. For example, an employer does not need to explicitly tell employees to not shoplift; it is assumed they know that. Similarly, a discount card is person to the individual who has it; an employee may not use his discount card for customers, because in doing so, he is effectively and obviously stealing from the business, by causing them to be paid less for their products. It is sufficiently obvious that an employee should not let customers get products for a reduced price that your son can be held liable for it--which means that you can be held liable. You therefore may wish to pay--and then force you son to repay you out of his earnings or savings.

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