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Making a server pay the tab for customers?

I have been a server for years rarely make mistakes but tonight I made a big one. We were slammed and our computers went down. So handwritten orders and having to hand write checks. When I tried to use the old school machine you put credit cards in it wouldn't work. One of the servers told me it doesn't work you have to write their card number on the slip. Which I did but I messed up some how and got a number wrong. So later in night after they left went to close out check on computer and was told invalid card number. Their tab was $108. Hopefully, lucky for me the wife used her debit card at our gift shop which has same numbers as her husband's and they said they will try and pull the card number up if they can't find his phone number and get in touch with him. I was told that if neither of those work I have to pay the bill. All of the other servers told me don't pay that bill it's illegal for them to require you to do that. If I don't pay they will just fire me. I'm hoping they get in touch with the couple or the software we use allows them to pull up her debit card. If that doesn't work should I just suck it up and pay the $108 tab. that's pretty much a day's pay for me.

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  • 8 years ago
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    i'm not a lawyer, so i can only tell you what i think. you have two different situations all wrapped into one here. first, you made a mistake which is pretty serious, obviously, and i'd think that the restaurant could dismiss you for it regardless. the second thing is the bill itself and whether or not they can simply deduct it from your paycheck. on that one, it is my belief...you need to check your state laws here, so contact your state's employment department and get the real information...but it is my belief that they cannot do this without your authorization. payroll payment is a very guarded thing, legally, and i would think that they would have to pay you the money if you don't authorize them to withhold it, and then possibly sue you for the loss they suffered. whether or not that would be successful, i don't know, nor do i know what it would cost you in legal fees and court costs should you lose such a suit. of course, if it comes to that, i'm sure you could expect to lose the job. it's a tough situation to be in, and you really need some good legal advice here, so do see what you can do to get that in your own state...states may differ on these things, okay?...and you need to consider what your options might be and which are the best for you.

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