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490 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 62510 9-Jun-2010 00:16 Send private message

I seem to be hearing more and more recently about employers billing their staff when they stuff up.

If you underprice a product do you pay the difference?

A prime example of this is a few comments in the Harvey Norman thread.

It worries me greatly what businesses are getting away with at the moment just by using "scare tactics".

So, if you know anyone who has been hit by this i'd be interested to hear about it. I wonder how widespread it is.

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Infrastructure Geek
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  Reply # 339627 9-Jun-2010 00:34 Send private message

i expect that this sort of thing would have to be part of an employment contract.

wrt/ the HN thread, i'm also surprised that a below-cost sale didnt require a manager's sign-off. should be something that could be programmed into a POS system. Perhaps the employer should have provided safeguards against it happening




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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 339637 9-Jun-2010 00:55 Send private message

Even if it is part of a contract i wonder if it is legal.

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  Reply # 339640 9-Jun-2010 01:35 Send private message

I believe if it was selling a product for under the cost price, then it's a fairly straight forward scenario to find evidence but in other cases, it can be hard to find evidence against an employee for a mistake.

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  Reply # 339643 9-Jun-2010 02:21 Send private message

but surely the systems should be constructed in such a way that below-cost sales could be prevented, or at least require approval. easy to prove it happened, but perhaps its is careless on the part of the employer - not taking reasonable steps to prevent a mistake by an employee.

i've built systems which have 'safeguards' such as this for clients. some clients were dealing in high volume, low cost items. some were dealing in low volume, high cost items. the concept is not exactly new, and its designed to help prevent a business from losing money




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  Reply # 339664 9-Jun-2010 07:08 Send private message

Employers do not have the right to take wage or salary deductions without written permission from the employee.

If an employee makes an error then the employer needs to weight up the circumstances and either issue a written warning or let it go. Bullying tactics such as this are likely to come back to bite them in the backside if they end up in the employment court.

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  Reply # 339666 9-Jun-2010 07:14 Send private message

I guess we will need to see if someone who has worked for HN tells us whats in their contracts. I know my brother refused to work for them, when they offered him the job, and then said there would be no paid overtime. Yet he was expected to be at work more than 1 hour before opening, and the same after closing, and he was not going to get paid for it.

I know another nationwide bigbox retailer does have protections in place at POS, where a senior salesperson is required to authorise a price markdown, and if it goes below cost, a manager is required to authorise it. Also, the markdowns had to be annotated as to why they were being done. I assume they still have this process in place, as it has been 18months since I was last there.

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 339680 9-Jun-2010 08:46 Send private message

At my place of work (not HN), we recently stopped accepting cheques, but when we did accept cheques, there was a system where we had to go through somewhere around 12 steps to accept the cheque, and if we missed a step out, then down the track the cheque bounced, we would get the FULL value of the cheque taken out of our pay.

This was never specifically in the contract, however the contract has one very vague statement which to me says the company can make up any rule it likes, at any time, and we must obey, so I suppose that makes it ok to do this.

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 339681 9-Jun-2010 08:56 Send private message

In the case of HN, how they will do this is deduct it from their commission, and not there salary. Commission is a bonus payment and they do have the right to make deductions from it.

And yes, they do have the ability in their POS system to require signoffs for discounts, most just don't as it's too much of a hassle.

It wasn't long ago a lot of people were demanding the Paul Reynold's bonus be wiped for the failures at Telecom. But should an employee of say McDonalds who drops a tray of eggs get it taken out of their salary, no. So where's that fine line?



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 339691 9-Jun-2010 09:31 Send private message

rscole86: I guess we will need to see if someone who has worked for HN tells us whats in their contracts. I know my brother refused to work for them, when they offered him the job, and then said there would be no paid overtime. Yet he was expected to be at work more than 1 hour before opening, and the same after closing, and he was not going to get paid for it.


Sounds completely illegal to me.

IlDuce: At my place of work (not HN), we recently stopped accepting cheques, but when we did accept cheques, there was a system where we had to go through somewhere around 12 steps to accept the cheque, and if we missed a step out, then down the track the cheque bounced, we would get the FULL value of the cheque taken out of our pay.

This was never specifically in the contract, however the contract has one very vague statement which to me says the company can make up any rule it likes, at any time, and we must obey, so I suppose that makes it ok to do this.


Personally it sounds illegal (if its out of the wages).

When your bombarded with customers all day your going to make a mistake sooner or later. It should be up to the the employer to put the safeguards in place to make sure that does not effect them. It should be the cost of a retail front.

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  Reply # 339707 9-Jun-2010 10:20 Send private message

IlDuce: At my place of work (not HN), we recently stopped accepting cheques, but when we did accept cheques, there was a system where we had to go through somewhere around 12 steps to accept the cheque, and if we missed a step out, then down the track the cheque bounced, we would get the FULL value of the cheque taken out of our pay.

This was never specifically in the contract, however the contract has one very vague statement which to me says the company can make up any rule it likes, at any time, and we must obey, so I suppose that makes it ok to do this.


No, no it is not OK.  If they ever did this to you, file a complaint with the Department of Labour now.  It's very illegal.

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 339720 9-Jun-2010 10:52 Send private message

Over the time they had that policy (until they stopped accepting cheques), nobody locally got caught out by a bounced cheque, however nationally there are bound to have been people who were.

At the introduction of the policy I was very offended, and handed my notice in solely due to it, as it was quite possible to wipe out 1/4 of a weeks pay if a cheque ever bounced. But in the end I decided that was rash, and just cut my hours right back, after all I am paid to serve customers, not paid to be a debt collector. After a month I was able to remember every and all steps required, and decided to become a self nominated "cheque policeman", with the intention of pissing customers off who paid by cheque, so they would complain about the cheque procedure, which may in turn make them drop the policy.

Here are the steps as I remember it:

Check customer name on database, make sure they are not writers of previous bounced cheques, check cheque number to make sure it is a valid cheque, make sure company name is spelt correctly (about 50% of cheques were spelt wrong), check total cheque figure was correct, and read the wording to make sure it is spelt correctly, and agrees with total figure. Check signature against drivers licence, decline if signature not identical (and I mean identical, not just close), If customer screws up the cheque, they may make changes, and initial the changes, but if they mess it up so bad they need to write another, decline them straight away as the cheque number will be different to whats recored in the system. On the back of cheque write down full name, drivers licence number, version number, expiry date, full residential address, home phone number.

Then another cashier or the manager must inspect the cheque, and write the name of the original person who took the cheque on the back. If the cheque does not this original persons name on it, then the second person who did not write it on the cheque then receives the liability if they cheque bounces.

Happy days.

As its no longer a policy, and all the related paperwork was probably shredded, there is no proof of what I say ever existing, so I expect labour department wont do anything. I have contacted them about 18 months ago about something unrelated to the cheque issue, but at the same place, and they couldn't/wouldn't help me.

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