Mistakes at the Cash Register: Do You Have to Pay for Them?

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We all make mistakes. But what if this happens at work? Can your employer force you to pay for a mistake at the cash register or if you break a few dishes?

To Err Is Human . . . but what about mistakes at the cash register?

As a general rule, you don't have to pay for mistakes you make at work.

A cash register that doesn't balance and broken dishes are losses that are a normal part of doing business. They are called "operating costs" or "current expenses," and an employer should expect things like this to happen. As an employee, you don't have to pay for these losses, even if they are your fault.

But be careful! If you make mistakes too often, or if you are careless in your work, you might have to pay back your employer.

Can Your Employer Subtract Money From Your Paycheque?

Your pay belongs to you. Your employer isn't allowed to take away money from your paycheque to cover mistakes you might have made.

What happens if you signed an employment contract that says you will pay back your employer for any mistakes you make at the cash register? You can still refuse to pay and your employer can't take any money from your paycheque.

The only time your employer can take money from your paycheque is when you agree to it and sign a document that specifically says your employer can take money from your paycheque.

Information Is Key

If you have questions about your rights, or if you are having a problem with your employer, you can contact the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST). The CNESST will explain your rights and those of your employer.

Important !
This article explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. This article is not a legal opinion or legal advice. To find out the specific rules for your situation, consult a lawyer or notary.