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Employee liabilities regarding company property (TEXAS) Tennessee Texas

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  • Employee liabilities regarding company property (TEXAS) Tennessee Texas

    I'm looking for some advice on an issue regarding an independently owned restaurant in Texas. My question is about who should be held liable for food that has not been paid for.

    I understand that if a wage deduction authorization agreement were signed stating that this is OKAY, then it is legit, but I am referring to this as a situation in which that form were not signed.

    If a customer orders food, eats their food and then leaves the restaurant without paying for their food is it legal to hold the waiter liable for paying for the unpaid food?

    Also, if a customer brings in a coupon to pay for all or part of their meal and the coupon is expired, can the owner of the restaurant legally hold the waiter liable for covering the price of the coupon?

    Finally, are there any laws regarding breaks for employees, specifically waiters?

    If you are knowledgable on this subject would you mind presenting the documentation to me on a website or possibly point me to a publication in which I can view these regulations?

    If you are unable to provide me with documentation regarding this issue I would be very much obliged if you could point me in the right direction for obtaining this information, be it a telephone number, website or just an email address.
    Last edited by ryazbeck; 08-18-2006, 02:02 AM.

  • #2
    Let's start with your second question. Neither federal nor Texas have laws mandating meal or rest breaks. Such provisions are at the sole discretion of the employer. They may be some industry specific exceptions, but those do not include restaurants. Also if employed under an enforceable employment contract or collective bargaining agreement, these agreements would prevail in such matters. There are also separate provisions for minors. The below links address *adult* workers only:

    The employer may hold an employee responsible for company losses. As you note, the problem is if the policy is enforceable. For an employer to take a non-statutory deduction from an employee's paycheck, the employer would need written authorization. If this does not exist, the employer may *request* reimbursement directly from employer or file in small claims court to recoup damages. It may be difficult to win such a case if no signed document exists.


    • #3
      So the owner is only able to receive the wage deduction IF the employee signed an agreement. If no agreement then it becomes a civil matter?


      • #4

        Other options to discipline and/or terminate the employee. It's possible that discipline may correct the behavior so that it does not happen in the future.


        • #5
          I highely doubt employee punishment will stop the issue of customers not paying for their meal. Haha.

          I guess the only debate at this point is whether or not the employees have signed the wage deduction authorization agreement, and if they haven't, then those girls are going to love me.

          The way they do it is if a customer walks out on a meal then they are required to pay for it. Well if this happens then they make a cup where everyone donates part of their tips to the "cause" of paying back the meal. The owner in no way partakes in the repayment of the meal.

          Essentially if they refused to pay for the meal then the register would come up short. In which case a cash shortage due to misappropriation by the employee must be proven, which would not be possible, because the misaproppriation was due to customer theft which is in no way due to an employee's neglegance unless proven, obviously. And even if it is proven that it was due to the employee's neglegence then it would only be legal if the employee's wages remained above the minimum wage rate of $5.15/hr.

          "Finally, the employer may deduct the amount of cash shortages that are provably the result of theft or other misappropriation by the employee, even though such a deduction might take the employee below the minimum wage level; the employer bears the burden of proving that the employee was personally and directly responsible for the misappropriation (see Mayhue's Super Liquor Stores, Inc. v. Hodgson, 464 F.2d 1196 (5th Cir. 1972). Ordinary cash register shortages, losses of money due to ordinary negligence, and losses due to damage, destruction, or loss of equipment may not be deducted from the wages of employees to the extent that the deductions would take employees below minimum wage. For more details, see "Focus on Misappropriation Deductions" in this book."

          Can you explain to me what this is called, and what each number and letter represents?
          29 C.F.R. 531.32(c)


          • #6
            Originally posted by ryazbeck
            Can you explain to me what this is called, and what each number and letter represents?
            29 C.F.R. 531.32(c)
            This is just the citation to labor code legislation. I suppose you could compare it to the Dewey Decimal System that libraries use.


            • #7
              So chapter, section? What are the parts of the reference number called?


              • #8
                CFR stands for Code of Federal Regulations.

                Title 29 is where labor code is found.

                531.32(c) is the section and subsection.


                • #9
                  You're awesome, thanks for all your help, much appreciated.


                  • #10
                    Oh, and BTW, requiring the employees to contribute a portion of their tips to pay for walk-outs is not allowed. Tip "pooling" is, but that's not what this is. See "Retention of Tips" here:
                    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


                    • #11
                      If you like reading the law...

                      The Texas Administrative Code, Sec. 821 (also known as the Texas Payday Rules) amplifies Sec. 61 of the Texas Payday Law, as it affects 61.018. Deductions from Wages. 825.28 describes what is considered by the Texas Workforce Commission to be adequate written authorization for deductions, as to specificity, and the employer's use of a handbook, policy manual, or other document instead of a separate writing. See:$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tl oc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=40&pt=20&ch=821&rl=28. Sorry, you'll need to cut and paste this URL. It won't link. In part, it says:
                      (b) Written authorization for deductions shall be specific as to the lawful purpose for which the employee has accepted the responsibility or liability. Written authorizations shall be:
                      (1) sufficient to give the employee a reasonable expectation of the amount to be withheld from pay; and
                      (2) a clear indication that the deduction is to be withheld from wages.

                      (c) If an employer uses a handbook, policy manual or other similar document instead of a separate writing, the employee's signed acknowledgment of receipt of company policies can be authorization to withhold wages if the acknowledgment meets the requirements of subsection (b) of this section and specifically informs the employee of the deduction. The signed acknowledgment of receipt shall also include language that states that the employee agrees to abide by or be bound to the authorization for deduction.

                      (d) The employer shall ensure that properly withheld wages are applied toward their authorized purpose. Properly withheld wages not applied toward their authorized purpose will be considered unlawful deductions.

                      (e) The employer shall obtain written authorization as required under the Act to deduct credit card service charges from an employee's tips.

                      All this is located on the State of Texas wep page at:

                      It'll cure insomnia.

                      You can call the Workforce Commission at 800-837-9559, or get claim forms from the site linked by robb71 in his first post. That's good advice.
                      Last edited by Texas709; 08-18-2006, 07:33 AM. Reason: sp


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