McDonald's building with signs (l) McDonald's worker's mother speaking in car with caption 'My son's drawer came up short at McDonald's. They made him pay it back before his shift ended.' (c) open cash register drawer (r)

ZikG/Shutterstock Christy Thompson/Shutterstock @lovebyrd82/TikTok (Licensed) Remix by Caterina Cox

‘If his drawer is over, do they give him the extra $’: Mother says teen McDonald’s worker was forced to pay $32 because ‘drawer came up short’ at the end of his shift

‘This sounds like a manager is taking advantage of him’


Phil West


The mother of a teen McDonald’s worker complained about how a recent situation involving a cash drawer short $32 was handled.

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TikToker @lovebyrd82’s video on the matter garnered over 184,400 views since going up on Tuesday. The caption reads: “What happens when your drawer comes up short as a cashier.”

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The mother starts, “So after work today, I am going up to my son’s job, because last night, he called me to bring him his wallet, and I’m like, ‘Well, why do you need your wallet? You already been at work all day.’ He’s like, ‘Oh, well, my drawer came up short. So they said I have to pay it back.’”

@lovebyrd82 What happens when your drawer comes up short as a cashier. #we ♬ original sound – Lovebyrd82

The recurring question she asks during the two-minute video is whether it is standard policy to have an employee personally pay back a drawer short money.

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She goes on to say, “I don’t think the process is making a 17-year-old pay back money that short from a drawer. Like do you think he stole the money? Like, what’s going on here?”

She notes that her husband ended up paying the money when he picked up their kid, but there were also co-workers taking up a collection to try to pay it out.

Commenters were alarmed by what allegedly took place.

One opined, “This sounds like a manager is taking advantage of him and not wanting to fill out a report to document a short drawer.”

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Someone else noted, “Make sure moving forward only HE touches the drawer. When his shift starts HE needs to count the drawer and confirm. Not just trust the manager.”

A third commenter quipped, “If his drawer is over, do they gave him the extra $?”

Another asserted, “noooo that is against the law to make employees pay anything like that back!!”

That’s at least true in some jurisdictions; an article on this topic from Illinois Legal Aid noted, “Without your consent, an employer cannot deduct pay or demand reimbursement for shortages,” adding, “All extra deductions that are not specifically allowed require your written permission. This includes deductions for property damage, required uniforms, and cash advances. If the employer wants you to pay for anything out of your paycheck, you have to agree in writing. It cannot be taken out of your bank account.”

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@lovebyrd82 recorded a follow-up video documenting her visit to the McDonald’s.

@lovebyrd82 Replying to @user3858929706346 ♬ original sound – Lovebyrd82
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In it, she says she learned that two workers worked out of the drawer, so they were, in the manager’s view, both responsible for paying them back. She says the manager also claimed that it was standard procedure that if an employee’s drawer was short, that employer had to pay it back.

That didn’t smell right to a lot of commenters there. “That sounds so sketchy,” one observed. “Ask them for a copy of the employee handbook.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to the creator via TikTok comment and to McDonald’s via email.

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