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This question arises from the answers given in Is it illegal for a store employee to do this with payment? and What power does an employer have over gratuities/tips?

To recap, a retail store does not accept payments in cash. They only accept payments by debit or credit cards. If a customer only has cash with them, so store employees accept the cash and pay with their personal credit card. No change (if there was any) is returned, and the employee keeps it as a tip in a sense.

As an example a customer buys something that is $19.50 but only has cash. The customer agrees to not receiving the change, the employee takes the $20 and pays the $19.50 on his credit card. Also the store does allow for tips, that clearly is policy.

My question is, can management or a coworker demand that a staff member not do this? Can an employee be reprehended or fired for taking cash and then paying with his personal credit card? Would it make a difference if it was exact change?

The customer could turn to the next person in line, gives them the cash and gets them to pay on their card. Since this would be allowed, could the employee argue they are not acting on behalf of the company and just wanted to do a person a favour?

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  • The employee could argue they're actually from Mars, and therefore the policies don't apply to them. Doesn't mean they'll have a job tomorrow.
    – Nij
    Jul 9 at 8:29
  • @Nij would such conduct be enough to terminate for cause?
    – minusvivid
    Jul 9 at 8:32
  • Defying orders of policy, breaching security policy, inappropriate relationships with customers, ... I'd really hope so.
    – Nij
    Jul 9 at 8:34
  • @Nij where is the inappropriate relationship?
    – minusvivid
    Jul 9 at 8:49
  • Taking extra money for doing something with the customer that management has prohibited...
    – Nij
    Jul 9 at 20:25
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Can management tell employees not to: accept cash from a customer then pay with their personal credit card because store doesn't take cash?

Yes. This has to do with the employer's freedom of contract I mentioned in a previous answer. The employer's rule "I enter these sale contracts only with people who pay with credit card and who are not my employees" is totally lawful.

Can an employee be reprehended or fired for taking cash and then paying with his personal credit card?

Yes. The employee is in violation of employer's lawful policies of which the employee was aware. It is irrelevant whether the employee made any profit in that violation.

The customer could turn to the next person in line, gives them the cash and gets them to pay on their card. Since this would be allowed, could the employee argue they are not acting on behalf of the company and just wanted to do a person a favour?

No. The aforementioned rule is not binding on the next person in line, but it certainly is binding on the employee. Accordingly, the next person in line is free to do others that favor whereas the employee is not.

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  • So to be clear, if the employer (i.e. management) doesn't expressly prohibit it, then it is alright/legal?
    – minusvivid
    Jul 9 at 11:26
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    @minusvivid "if the employer (i.e. management) doesn't expressly prohibit it, then it is alright/legal?" Note that that is different from your questions in this post. A prohibition does not need to be stated expressly. As long as this prohibition is communicated in a way that a reasonable person would be aware of it, it is valid. If the employee believes the manager's prohibition does not reflect the employer's freedom of contact, the employee can always escalate the issue and maybe try persuading the employer why consenting to the employee's "reseller capacity" is beneficial to both. Jul 9 at 11:39

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