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Fired for coming up short on the cash register

Updated : August 13th, 2022

Cash Register

Emily asks:

I am a 17-year-old and was hired for a part-time summer job at a BBQ restaurant in Santa Clara, CA–my first “real” job. Everything has been going great for over two months–I loved working there. I loved my bosses and the people I worked with. They loved me and told me that when I came home from college on vacations or whatever, that I was welcome to come back. They also said they would give me a great recommendation and could put them down as a reference.

I last worked on Saturday, and when I came in for my scheduled Wednesday shift today, I walked in the door and was told by my manager, in front of other employees, that I was being fired for coming up short on my cash register twice–once for $5.00 and once for $9.00, I think. I had never heard that I was even short once. There was no warning, nothing in writing, no dates and times, no nothing. Just complete and utter humiliation. I was handed my final pay checks and told “good-bye”.

I DID NOT steal this money. I do NOT know how my register came up short, or even if it really did. I do not want this unjust accusation on my record.

I want to know what I should do. Help!

Chris’s Response to: Coming up short on my cash register, or so they say, once $9 and once $5, I think.


You’re not really asking me about unemployment benefits as much as you are asking how to get the employer to recant their claim your cash drawer came up short twice for a total of 14 dollars and change their reason for terminating your employment.

Cash shortage, doesn’t necessarily mean that anyone stole money, or that the employer’s records will reflect theft.

Two months at your first “real job” will likely not be enough wages to qualify for unemployment either, therefore, there will be no initial determination, or appeal decision saying you fired for something other than work related misconduct.

As far as a mistake being on your record consider that you are still young and you won’t necessarily be expected to provide an extensive work history to get another job with a better, more responsible employer.

If me, I don’t think I would even mention this job to a prospective employer, unless your former employer called the cops, which I highly doubt.

Humiliation aside, take the lesson you can take away from the experience and move on with it in mind when accepting other at-will employment in the future.

Always take to heart that an employers rules matter and should be followed, but don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself, or keep your own best interests in mind and remember there is no reason for feeling humiliation or shame when you know in your own heart, your conscious is clear of wrongdoing. Ironically, it’s usually those with years of experience working, that feel guilty, even if they aren’t that let those feelings interfere with proving, or rebutting a burden when it is time to file for unemployment.

Chin up Emily, you’re young, fresh and new and sounds like you’re off to college, it’ll be alright:), this was a bad experience, but also a learning experience.

Being fired for a cash shortage is not often synonymous with being accused of theft too. It’s being fired for misconduct and without previous warnings that follow along with employer’s rules, it’s rebuttable as not being misconduct that fits one, or more of those words used to describe the attitude of the employee found guilty of work misconduct.

Comments for Fired for coming up short on my cash register, or so they say, once $9 and once $5, I think.

Me too

by: Anonymous

I’m a cashier as well and I’ve been short so far 6 times this year from 2.00 to 10.00 and I’m not sure why but in my opinion it may be a computer error or some one has been getting sticky fingers. And I’m sick and tired of being blamed for something I have no control over.

OMG ME TOO!!!!!!! :(((

by: theater employee

same things happening to me i just got my 4th warning about coming up with the wrong amount of cash but this time i had too much money… every time i got a warning i was always like 9 or 22 $ short and this is my first job and i have like a crush on so many people and im getting a good pay and i really want to keep my job god bless my manager he said he would give me another position rather then working the counter… thats if i dont get fired :( please help

Not sure what to tell you, except if you’re trying to tell me you basically suck at math and should of never been given the responsibility of managing a cash drawer, I think you should of been documenting that to be the fact all along, such as when you received the first three warnings. And it probably wouldn’t of hurt if you had been requesting a different position minus that responsibility as well.

One other point, While working a job at will, to the best of you ability, I don’t think it’s easy to find the time to be crushing on one, let alone multiple people .. because it can prevent you from performing your job to the standards and expectations an at-will employer has the right to expect of all employees.

I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you, in that I hope your wonderful manager does have the authority to make the ultimate decision as to whether after a fourth warning for cash drawer shortages/overages, you will retain your job, or be fired from it .. and if the latter becomes your reality, that you learn something from the experience you can take with you to your second job.

All the best,


Same thing happening to me:(

by: Anonymous

I work at McDonald’s, and on my third day I was told I was missing $9 then on my fourth day of work I was told I was missing $7 idk how I just find it weird:( and it’s a really good job with a good pay I don’t wanna lose this job!

Also it’s my first “real” job too! I’ve spoken to my boss and he says to recount the register at the beginning and end of my shift! Alsooo being short on my register kinda makes me scared to work counter again!! Because of the fear of losing my job:(

Same here


by: Anonymous

My manager is trying to claim I did this too at my job. I have been double checking everything I do on registers and she still claims I come up short.

I need help


by: Anonymous

I just got told by my manager that my register was $111 dollars short, and an employee that I work with his was 49$ short and I didn’t take any of it I know that for sure is it cause I didn’t give to much back.

Learning Curves not dismissals.

by: Anonymous

Having worked in various jobs requiring money handling I don’t think you should be fired for this action. If there other things you were doing that suggested you were pocketing cash or acting suspiciously then yes but good employers would assure you have been trained correctly, monitor your ability, explain and show how your mistake happened and follow up any other actions that may have led to inaccurate transactions or reconciliations, or review systems. These things happen but is important to correct and learn from them

wrongfully accused

by: Tiny “T”

I work at a cafe. I was told a couple weeks ago that, I was gonna go on call until the other servers were trained. I was then told a week prior the register had been short 2.00 and then 20.00.

I couldn’t believe what she was saying. I stated no, the receipt for the store run was in the register. Also, I wasn’t told of a short of 20.00. The other server counted behind me. She spreads through the crew that I stole money. Why would she say that! I want to know if I have a claim. I work there to supplement my income by 400.00 a month. What can I do? Please comment.

Could you just tell me if you were fired, or put on call? Being put on call is sort of risky business for an employer if they are going to tell the unemployment department you stole money.

Since you were put on call, have you been called to work?

You can file a claim for partial benefits if you have not already, if you are employed full-time elsewhere. However, I doubt you would receive any benefits even if found eligible due to no fault of your own .. because you have to work less than fulltime to collect and earn less than benefits would be for being totally unemployed to receive a partial amount of a weekly benefit amount you might qualify for when they figure the WBA of you being totally unemployed.


Poor girl

by: Anonymous

That is no company to work for, well now you know.

They have to have more control over the $, like you count it down before your shift and after & then you know right then and there if there’s a shortage, or overage, then clear rules on steps taken to discipline if you’re off or over, like strike 1-3 and so on……. Sorry they just didn’t seem to care to care. You may have been the fall guy for the manger but you’ll never know.

take care

  1. I was let go from my job as a Cashier due to my register being $107 short. I DO NOT STEAL, so I’m not sure where the money went. My question is, can I file for unemployment or will I be denied because I was fired? My DM looked at all the camera’s and said she didn’t see where I took any money from my register but since it happened on my shift, they had to let me go. I couldn’t believe that one of my Managers was told to STRIP SEARCH ME , by the other Manager who was on the phone directing her on how to deal with the situation. That’s just wrong! Anyways, I just want to know if I can draw unemployment or not? I live in Oregon so I’m not sure if that matters

    • Hi, Kim – you can certainly apply, but if your former employer reports that you were fired for cause, then it’s very unlikely that your claim would be approved. That’s one of the key eligibility criteria – that you lost your job through no fault of your own, so it may be worth it to try to find out whether your former employer would fight the claim. Once you file your claim, the Oregon unemployment office will connect with your previous employer to verify your reason for separation.

  2. I has been laid off for 3 weeks and still could not reopen existing claim because forget user name and password ,try to retrieve but impossible to call or email even come to local Berk career Link office of PA I try every day call in email ect …but no way to contact Unemployment compensation office or anything ,I does not have money enough to survive in this economy right now ! Gas food prices going up housing ,insurance ,health and my medicine !Please help if any one know the way !

    • Hi, there – have you been able to connect with anyone in the Pennsylvania unemployment office? Let’s check the number you’re calling first. For general questions, you should be able to call 888-313-7284 Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. (EST). You also should be able to send your questions to When you email, you should include the following information: name, last four digits of your Social Security number and the nature of your specific question. Many unemployment offices are inundated with requests right now, so it may not be easy to get through, but keep trying.

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