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Thread: Cash drawer shortages Arizona

  1. #1
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    Default Cash drawer shortages Arizona

    Can a fast food establishment withhold a paycheck if there is a shortage in the cash drawer? The register had several different employees working from that register. They are making us pay back the amount of the shortage before releasing our paychecks. Is this legal.

  2. #2
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    This is what Az. says about wage deductions:

    No employer may withhold or divert any portion of an employee's wages unless one of the following applies:

    1. The employer is required or empowered to do so by state or federal law.

    2. The employer has prior written authorization from the employee.

    3. There is a reasonable good faith dispute as to the amount of wages due. (ARS 23-352)
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  3. #3
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    That is the state law answer and doubtlessly correct. There is also a federal law answer, and that would be that the check cannot be held, but the "over and shorts" are "for the benefit of the employer" deductions that cannot impact minimum wage or overtime. Example. Lets say that we are looking at federal law only (FLSA). Lets say Bob works exactly 40 hours a week, and is paid $10/hr. Under federal law only, the employer cannot hold back the paycheck, but could in theory deduct the $2.75/hr as a "for the benefit of the employer" deduction to cover the cash drawer shortage.
    http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs16.pdf

    State law cannot make federal law go away, but it can add additional requirements. In this case, AZ has maybe created a "written authorization" requirement that does not exist in federal law. It however also said that any deduction authorized by federal law is authorized under state law. Not very well worded, since an employer could argue that the written authorization is not needed under federal law. Which is maybe not what the AZ law intends.

    Basically both federal and state law are applicable. The employee gets which ever combination of rules that is most favorable to the employee. The employer cannot hold the check. Period. The only argument is what deductions (if any) they can legally take. And federal law is very clear that this type of deduction cannot impact MW/OT requirements.
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