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Question Corner - Addressing Employee Misconduct
November 28, 2018
Parsons Behle & Latimer Legal Briefings

We recently discovered that one of our employees has been ordering supplies through his office account for his personal use. He has admitted to the theft. We don’t want to press charges, but we are going to fire him. Are we allowed to withhold his final two paychecks as repayment for the stolen supplies? He has signed a form authorizing us to do so.

A: Idaho law allows the withholding of wages where the employee has provided a written authorization.  However, the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) prohibits withholding the repayment for the stolen supplies to the extent that it would reduce the employee’s wage below the minimum wage for the hours he has worked or cut into any overtime compensation required by the FLSA.

Q: One of the facilities we operate has a formal dining room and bar. One of our directors found a bartender drinking wine while on duty. We have a rule that drinking isn’t allowed on the premises at all. We would like to fire her. If she tells us she has a drinking problem, would the termination violate her rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?

A: The ADA specifically allows an employer to prohibit the use of alcohol in the workplace.  Provided you are applying the rule uniformly and not enforcing it in a way that treats alcoholics more harshly, the termination would not violate her ADA rights. 


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