I’m working at a restaurant as a server in NYC and I needed to take one day off from work. I told that to my manager and I looked for a replacement. But no one was free. I told another server who work with me at the day. She understood my situation. Since my workplace used to only have one server at each busy time( lunch and dinner) and she was a long-time worker. So I told my manager “I think it is okay to work alone because she said it’s okay and you used to have like a policy that one server at each busy time when I asked to increase sever stuff.” Then she said “ How dare you are. It’s impossibel to work alone at the each busy time. Are you kidding me. You should pay money to restaurant because you skipped your shift.” I’m wondering if it’s legal to ask for money because you could not come to work with reason. And could not get replacement person.

  • 16
    Yes, it's legal. It's also absurd. Don't give her any money. Sep 27, 2019 at 3:04
  • 6
    Asking you to give them money probably isn't illegal. Coercing you to give them money probably is. At any rate, this is not something you should do.
    – joeqwerty
    Sep 27, 2019 at 5:31
  • 3
    It's not clear to me - was she actually, seriously, asking you for money? Or was she saying that as a hyperbolic, exaggerated statement to try to make it clear to you how impactful your missed shift was?
    – dwizum
    Sep 27, 2019 at 12:44
  • It doesn’t sound like your manager is actually asking you to pay, but rather being sarcastic or belittling. Is that correct, or have you actually been told to pay a specific amount?
    – jmoreno
    Sep 28, 2019 at 2:25

2 Answers 2


They have the right to ask you. You then have the right to tell them that they must be completely out of their mind and that they are not getting a penny, and that you will remember their insane attitude.

It is not your responsibility to find a replacement - unless for example you work in HR and it is your responsibility to find replacements for anybody who isn’t there. As a server, it’s not your responsibility.

  • 6
    Are you sure you have the right to ask? I don't know if it exists in USA, but using using a dominant position to ask such a thing could be considered as extortion.
    – Bebs
    Sep 27, 2019 at 11:59
  • 2
    @Bebs I think the 'right to ask' falls under free-speech in the USA - they can ask anything. However, whether they should ask is, rightly, a question where there is a potential for extortion or workplace bullying.
    – PeteCon
    Sep 27, 2019 at 12:36
  • 3
    It is not your responsibility to find a replacement Ehhhh. I worked a lot in the restaurant industry from age 16 to 23. In every place I worked, schedules were irregular & never finalized more than a week in advance (sometimes a schedule was posted Mon for the week beginning Wed!) They typically honored time-off requests made in advance (1-2 weeks min notice) but once the schedule was posted, it was your responsibility to show up, or find someone to cover your shift. Say what you will about this informal policy, but it was absolutely prevalent in the service industry in my experience.
    – David Z
    Sep 27, 2019 at 14:30
  • 2
    That said, nobody ever asked for $$ if you couldn't cover your shift. You'd take a no call/no show and after a few of those they'd let you go.
    – David Z
    Sep 27, 2019 at 14:31
  • @PeteCon: The right to ask is not (entirely) safeguarded by the first amendment. For example, certain questions cannot be asked during job interviews (family plans, religion).
    – Flater
    Sep 30, 2019 at 12:50

You definitely don't have to pay anything. The restaurant has the money they would have paid you for the shift and there are laws restricting when deductions can be made from your pay.

It's also not your responsibility to find a replacement when you need time off.

Your responsibility is to give the boss sufficient notice - and in turn it's his job to clarify how much notice he needs.

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