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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 20228
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Employment Law
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I am a waitress at Cracker's Sport's Bar in Farmington, NM.

Customer Question

I am a waitress at Cracker's Sport's Bar in Farmington, NM. Last Thursday, a couple walked out on another server and stuck the restaurant with an $80.00 bill. Because we all share a general tip pool, our manager is now telling all the servers who were on duty that night tha we have to pay $16 each to cover the bill. We have also been told that if we do not agree to pay, we can find another job. Is any of this legal?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.


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.

Please feel free to ask for clarification if needed. If none is needed, then if you could take a moment to leave a positive rating in the box above, I will receive credit for assisting you today. Thank you.

Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

I wanted to touch base with you and make sure that you did not have any follow up questions for me from the answer I provided to you on the 9th. For some reason, the Experts are not always getting replies or ratings (at the top of the question/answer page you are viewing or in the pop up box for this question), which is how we get credit (paid by the Site) for our work, that the customer thinks have gone through. In your case I received neither. If you are having technical difficulties with reading, replying or rating, please let me know so that I can inform the Site administrator. Please note that Site use works best while using a computer and using either Google Chrome or Firefox.

In any event, it was a pleasure assisting you and I would be glad to attempt to assist you further on this issue, or a new legal issue,if needed. You can bookmark my page at:

Thank you.