Question: Can an employer make a deduction from an employee’s pay or have him or her work a day for free because the employee broke the employer’s equipment or there was an unexplained shortage in the cash register?

Answer: The federal Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division prohibits an employer from making deductions from wages if the deductions reduce the wages of employees below minimum wage or reduce the amount of overtime pay owed the employee. Some states provide laws that prohibit an employer from deducting the cost for damage or theft. Deductions should not be made without pre-authorization from the employee. Under no circumstances may an employer require or allow an employee to work for free.