Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
Thank you for the information and your question. No, it would not be lawful for the employer to require that the employees pay for a walk out, especially the employees who were not involved in serving these customers. Under NM law, only "lawful" deductions can be taken from an employees wages (NM Stats 50-4-2) and those deductions must be agreed upon in writing at the time of hiring. So, unless there is a written agreement that says employees will pay for walk outs, the employer cannot charge them for it. This is true, even if the employer is trying to take this from another source other than hourly wages, such as tips.
The employees have a few choices here. One is to not pay and face probable termination and then file suit through an attorney for wrongful termination (which does cost money up front.) The other is to pay it and then file a wage complaint with the State for the violation of the statute I mentioned. That is free to do and the employer cannot lawfully terminate an employee for filing such a claim. If they did, then again the employee would have an even better wrongful termination claim since this would be a wage claim retaliation case, which makes it stronger.
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