The restaurant I work for has started a new policy that a server's bank (cash payments made by guests that I owe the store) may only turn in a maximum of $20 in one dollar bills. I had an issue with this today, as I had a customer pay for a $48 check in all ones. The manager on duty refused to accept my bank at the end of my shift and required me to keep the ones and break bills I already had.

Is it legal for the restaurant to do this? Technically, my bank is considered a debt to the store so they can't refuse a payment. If that had been my only cash check, what could I have done but give them those ones.

  • 1
    That seems unlawful, but what are the ramifications if a server cannot comply with that new policy? Sep 8, 2018 at 21:06
  • Tt now carries a threat of a write up. Enough write ups result in termination, regardless of the reasoning behind it, as corporate gets notified of any employee with more than 3 write ups.
    – skorux
    Sep 8, 2018 at 21:15
  • 2
    Is this in the US? What state? Giving them the singles may settle the debt, but it may also be perfectly legal for them to fire you for settling it in that way. Most employees in the US are at-will and have very few protections. Sep 8, 2018 at 21:36

1 Answer 1


Based on another question you posted, I assume that your jurisdiction (still) is Florida.

Is it legal for a restaurant to limit the amount of a certain type of bill?

No, it is illegal. Here the subtlety is that --per your description-- server's bank constitutes debt (rather than payment for goods or services), and 31 USC § 5103 reads:

"United States coins and currency [...] are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues"

(emphasis added)

Since non-compliance with the restaurant's new policy can lead to termination, I think your best option is to proceed in accordance with Florida statute 448.102(1):

  1. In writing, bring to the attention of a supervisor or the employer the policy or practice, affording the employer "a reasonable opportunity to correct the activity, policy, or practice"; and if the restaurant dismissed the reasonable opportunity,
  2. disclose to the "appropriate governmental agency, under oath, in writing, an activity, policy, or practice of the employer that is in violation of a law, rule, or regulation", which in this case is 31 USC § 5103.

If you have to resort to step (2), be sure to include evidence --in writing-- about the substance of the new policy, showing how the restaurant treats server's bank as "debt".

Having taken these two steps, if the restaurant terminates you, then this might be grounds for a lawsuit. See Florida statute 448.103.

In other jurisdictions, the approach might have to be different. For instance, in Michigan, the server would need to file a complaint with the state's labor agency on the basis of MCL 408.478(* ) (prohibiting the employer to demand "[a] consideration, as a condition of employment or continuation of employment"). Here, the "consideration" is that the employer restaurant is demanding its servers to perform --without extra pay-- tasks that have nothing to do with a server's job: Acting as a bank cashier, or going to the bank towards securing the ability to comply with the restaurant's new policy.

(*) I couldn't find an equivalent statute in the Florida legislature.

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