Back in February I was let go from Kmart due to a loss of 521$....(whole story is in the question I previously posted) they keep sending letters and even took the liberty to call my family members(which I find absurd) i called the office that send me the civil demands and The woman i spoke to said I had to pay them off or else I would be facing court charges, my question is, do I keep ignoring these letters and if I do can I possibly face court time? Or will paying them off do any good?
Employment / Labor Attorney
It is unlikely you will face a lawsuit or a criminal filing. However, nothing you can do will stop the dunning that is going on. If you want it to stop, pay them off. Otherwise, call their bluff and pay when something actually happens to show you that they are serious.
This is all about what risk you are willing to accept. If you want no risk that this could turn into something bigger, then pay them off. If you are willing to accept risk of more calls and a possible lawsuit, then wait and see.
Good luck to you.
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Employment / Labor Attorney
First, no one here knows which previous question is yours. All Avvo questions are posted anonymously and there are far too many posted every hour for us to make the connection. Feel free to copy and paste the link to your prior post.
Second, if you were working for Kmart and the $521 loss was not your fault . . . if it was due to an honest error, honest misunderstanding, customer's fraud, or anything else that was out of your control, then most likely Kmart cannot hold you responsible for that loss. 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.
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