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Employment decisions based on an employee's willingness to pay the company back

We issue cash banks to employees at the beginning of their shift. At the end of the shift, they need to turn in the cash bank they received, cash they rang in, credit card slips and paperwork from the register. If an employee "loses" the bank and cash rung in and you normally would terminate for a cash handling policy violation, can you waive termination if the employee pays the money back? For example, if you don't pay it back, you are terminated, but if you do pay it back you are not. I seem to remember a recent case in MA involving a trucking company where employees were not disciplined for damage to vehicles if they paid for it and/or if they paid the increased insurance company. The court said you couldn't do this. I can't find the case though.

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While it is difficult to give a blanket answer - I would say that employers are free to determine which offenses require discharge and which do not (so long as they are not discriminatory or otherwise against the law). In your example, I see no legal obstacle against having a policy in place whereby someone is discharged if they "lose" money from a cash register but not if they pay it back. The only issue I see is if people are treated differently for the same violations.

Although it does not seem relevant in the situation you describe, employers should also be wary of unauthorized paycheck deductions.

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