Mayhue's Super Liquor Stores, Inc. v. Hodgson, 71-2044.

Decision Date05 September 1972
Docket NumberNo. 71-2044.,71-2044.
Citation464 F.2d 1196
PartiesMAYHUE'S SUPER LIQUOR STORES, INC., et al., Plaintiffs-Appellants-Cross Appellees, v. James D. HODGSON, Secretary of Labor, United States Department of Labor, Defendant-Appellee-Cross Appellant.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Fifth Circuit

James V. Johnstone, Miami Beach, Fla., for appellant.

Beverley R. Worrell, Ronald Gaswirth, Atty., U. S. Dept. of Labor, Office of the Solicitor, Atlanta, Ga., Clemens Hagglund, Asst. U. S. Atty., Robert W. Rust, U. S. Atty., Miami, Fla., Carin Ann Clauss, Dept. of Labor, James D. Henry, Richard F. Schubert, Sol., U. S. Dept. of Labor, Washington, D. C., for appellees.

Before TUTTLE, MORGAN and RONEY, Circuit Judges.

RONEY, Circuit Judge:

An agreement that an employee will repay to his employer any shortages in money entrusted to him, when shortages occur through misappropriation, theft, or otherwise, violates the minimum wage requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act to the extent that such required payments reduce below the minimum wage the amount of money and compensation which the employee receives. The district court held otherwise. We reverse.

Mayhue's Super Liquor Stores, Inc., a Florida corporation, owns and operates a chain of six retail liquor stores in Broward County, Florida, and is admittedly subject to the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Carl L. Mayhue, its president and sole stockholder, actively manages the affairs of the corporation, including the hiring and firing of employees and the setting of wage policies. The employees involved in this litigation are cashiers who worked for various periods of time at one or more of the six liquor stores.

This action was initiated by the corporation and Mayhue for a declaratory judgment as to the legality under the Fair Labor Standards Act of requiring employees, as a condition of employment, to sign agreements providing that the employees would make "voluntary" repayments of cash register shortages. The Secretary counterclaimed under Section 17 for an order restraining the continued withholding of unpaid minimum wages and overtime compensation resulting from two practices: (1) the voluntary repayment of shortages pursuant to the agreement, and (2) the performance of work which was required but not recorded on Mayhue's time records. He also sought an injunction against further violations on both scores.

The district court declared Mayhue's employment agreements to be valid under the Act. However, the court held that the employer had otherwise willfully violated the Act's minimum wage, overtime, and record-keeping provisions, enjoined such violations, and required restitution to certain named employees. Both parties appeal the judgment.

We reverse the judgment only with respect to the validity of that part of the employment agreement requiring repayment of cash register shortages.


The right to a minimum wage under the Fair Labor Standards Act cannot be waived by agreement between the employee and his employer. Brooklyn Bank v. O'Neil, 324 U.S. 697, 65 S. Ct. 895, 89 L.Ed. 1296 (1945).1 The critical question in this case is whether this agreement works such a waiver. The employer concedes that the wages paid to many employees would be below the minimum if the repayments made or required were deducted from the amount of the compensation.

The controlling provision of the agreement provides:

"It is understood that the employee is responsible for any money entrusted to him. Any shortages that occur through misappropriation, theft, or otherwise, shall be voluntarily repaid by the employee to the employer. In executing this contract at the time of employment, it is understood by both parties that the employee is the sole and only person using or entering into the safe, cash deposit box, or sole operator of a cash register.
The employee agrees to voluntarily repay said missing funds to the employer within a reasonable period of time. The employer shall not deduct said shortages from the paycheck of the employee. It is understood that said shortages are considered to be a valid debt owed to the employer.
Any repaid debts caused by such shortages shall not be considered as part of the calculation of basic rates of employees and shall not be used to determine whether the employee has received pay amounting to less than the Federal minimum wage.
Basic rates, used for calculation of overtime pay, shall not be reduced as a result of repayment of such debts. Said debt repayment is, for all purposes, unconnected with payroll procedures and are not to be considered as payroll deductions."

In holding that this agreement in no way violates the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the district court said that a contrary holding

"would amount to a `judicial invitation\' to such employees to steal. Certainly the Act is not intended to prevent an employer from protecting his property, including assets in the form of cash. Such losses, however, should not be deducted from the employees pay whether wages are being paid in cash or by check. The agreement being approved by the court contemplates `voluntary\' repayment by employees. Any contrary action by the employer would, in the court\'s opinion, violate the provisions of the Act."

The "judicial invitation" to steal argument is not persuasive. There is no evidence that Mayhue's shortages were the result of theft on the part of the cashiers or were in any way different from the usual losses which are to be expected where cashier employees handle a large number of transactions. The agreement required repayment regardless of the reason for the shortages. If the agreement required only repayment of money that the employee himself took or misappropriated it obviously would not collide with the Act. As a matter of law the employee would owe such amounts...

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  • Sullivan v. PJ United, Inc.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Alabama
    • 19 Julio 2018
    ...the statutory minimum.’ " Ramos-Barrientos v. Bland , 661 F.3d 587, 594–95 (11th Cir. 2011) (quoting Mayhue's Super Liquor Stores, Inc. v. Hodgson , 464 F.2d 1196, 1199 (5th Cir. 1972) ).It is notable that neither § 531.35 nor Ramos-Barrientos make use of the "primary benefits" test that De......
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    ...expenses rather than simply declaring every cost that is helpful to a given job an employer expense. Mayhue's Super Liquor Stores, Inc. v. Hodgson, 464 F.2d 1196, 1199 (5th Cir.1972) (asking whether an act tended to shift employer expenses); Brennan v. Veterans Cleaning Serv., Inc., 482 F.2......
  • City of Oakland v. Hassey
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • 17 Junio 2008
    ...[89 L.Ed. 1296, 65 S.Ct. 895] [impermissible to waive by agreement statutory protections of FLSA]; Mayhue's Super Liquor Stores, Inc. v. Hodgson (5th Cir. 1972) 464 F.2d 1196, 1197, 1199 [employee's agreement to repay employer shortages in money entrusted to him violates FLSA to the extent ......
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    ...directly or indirectly to the employer * * the whole or part of the wage delivered to the employee." See Mayhue's Super Liquor Stores v. Hodgson, 464 F.2d 1196, 1199, 69 CCH Labor Cases ¶ 32,738 (C.A. 5, 1972); Dunlop v. Midget, 78 CCH Labor Cases ¶ 33,384 (N.D.N.C., 1976). This is in accor......
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1 books & journal articles
  • Chapter 20 - § 20.2 • COLORADO LAW ON WAGES
    • United States
    • Colorado Bar Association The Practitioner's Guide to Colorado Employment Law 2022 (CBA) Chapter 20 Wage, Hour, and Benefits Issues
    • Invalid date
    ...drop an employee's earnings below the minimum wage. C.R.S. § 8-4-105(b)(1); see, e.g., Mayhue's Super Liquor Stores, Inc. v. Hodgson, 464 F.2d 1196, 1197 (5th Cir. 1972). Practice Pointer If there is a dispute as to whether any compensation is due, or whether a certain deduction may be made......

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