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Can my employer make me pay for mistakes rang into the computer?

San Diego, CA |

If we ring in something wrong on the computer and it is made, our owners make us pay for it. Also, if a walkout happens, it's our responsibility. Is this allowed in California?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. What your employer is doing is illegal. The only time employers can legitimately deduct business losses from your paycheck if it was a willful or dishonest act, or something considered grossly negligent. That doesn't seem to be the case here. Many of us can help you get your money back. Best of luck to you. Also, check out the link below for more information.

    Free consultation. Direct line- 855-637-0938 .24/7. Video/Phone/In-Person. aalok.sikand@gmail.com. I provide my clients with honest, thoughtful advice and diligent, vigorous representation in a number of practice areas. I serve Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, Santa Barbara and San Diego Counties. I wouldn't take any of my answers on avvo.com as legal advice since there are still too many factors that need to be discussed before I can give you a reliable opinion.


  2. If your employer attempts to automatically deduction from your checks to account for these losses, that is an illegal employment practice. Contact a local attorney for assistance in pursuing a claim.

    http://www.johnphillipslaw.com

    This answer is a general interpretation of the law and is not fact specific to your case. Likewise it does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should seek an attorney for a review of your specific facts and documents.


  3. No, the employer cannot make you pay for your mistake. The courts and legislature understood that mistakes are inevitable, and the employer is in a better position to absorb the loss than is the employee. An employer cannot make the employee into an insurer of the employer’s business.

    In Kerr’s Catering Service v. Department of Industrial Relations, 57 Cal. 2d 319 (1962), the California Supreme Court stated that “some cash shortages, breakage and loss of equipment are inevitable in almost any business operation. It does not seem unjust to require the employer to bear such losses as expenses of management when it is presently the unchallenged practice to require him to bear, as a business expense, the cost of tools and equipment, protective garments and uniforms furnished to the employee . . . . ”

    “Furthermore, the employer may, and usually does, either pass these costs on to the consumer in the form of higher prices or lower his employees’ wages proportionately, thus distributing the losses among a wide group. In addition, the employer is free to discharge any employee whose carelessness causes the losses . . . .”

    In addition, California Labor Code sections 2800 and 2802 require an employer to indemnify an employee for expenses and losses incurred on the job:

    2800. An employer shall in all cases indemnify his employee for losses caused by the employer’s want of ordinary care.

    2802. (a) An employer shall indemnify his or her employee for all necessary expenditures or losses incurred by the employee in direct consequence of the discharge of his or her duties, or of his or her obedience to the directions of the employer, even though unlawful, unless the employee, at the time of obeying the directions, believed them to be unlawful.

    However, an employer has the right to discipline an employee for mistakes on the job, all the way up to firing the employee.

    Even if your employer violated the law, there may be many reasons not to do anything about it. Taking action could result in the loss of your job due to employer retaliation. While it is illegal to retaliate against an employee who makes a good faith complaint about illegal circumstances, all the law does is provide a remedy after the fact; the law cannot prevent your employer from taking retaliatory action in the first place. You may find yourself out of a job in this terrible economy and unable to find a replacement. No law suit, no matter how successful, can ever give you back the lost time and lost peace of mind that are taken from you during any litigation.

    Keep a log of the date and amount of every error and deduction. When you leave this job, you may be able to file a claim with the Labor Commissioner or in court to recoup these illegal deductions, plus interest and penalties, attorney's fees and costs (some of these remedies are only available if you go to court).

    To find a plaintiffs employment attorney in California, please go to the web site of the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA). CELA is the largest and most influential bar association in the state for attorneys who represent working people. The web site is www.cela.org. Click on "Find a CELA Member" and you can search by location and practice area. Many CELA attorneys represent clients throughout the state.

    I hope you can resolve your situation and wish you the best.

    twitter.com/MikaSpencer *** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***

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