A woman who contacted me works in a restaurant waiting tables. I used to be a waiter and know from experience that customer orders will get screwed up. It’s not on purpose of course, but things happen. You write it down wrong, the cook reads it wrong, the customer changes their mind. Things happen.

At my old restaurant, Bennigans, it wasn’t uncommon for us to offer a free desert or appetizer to try and smooth things out. It cost the restaurant next to nothing to make the customer happy and as waiters we didn’t really care. We just wanted good tips.

The woman who called me also has occasional unhappy customers. Her boss unfortunately deals with these problems differently. If they have to comp a meal because it took too long or was prepared wrong, they take it out of the staff’s check. If they comp a desert or app or anything else, it comes out of her pocket.

This is completely illegal. The same is true if the manager wants to take your tips.

It’s not just the restaurant industry. We’ve seen other employees who are asked to pay for office supplies. That’s not how it works. Drivers are forced to pay for damage done to vehicles out of their paycheck. It’s completely illegal.

In one extreme case, a driver who called us was expecting a check for over $2,000.00. When he got the check it said -$300.00 which meant the boss was telling him he owed them $300 for a big dent on the side of the truck. That is very much against the law.

The good news is that a lawyer can almost always solve these problems because there is no defense to them. And when you win a wage claim your employer usually has to pay your lawyer fees.

Bottom line is that if something seems unfair or just plain wrong, it often is illegal. Don’t just accept it. Investigate your rights by speaking with an attorney. You are always welcome to call our Chicago law office at (312) 346-5320. All calls are free and confidential. Alternatively, you can fill out our contact form.