Last week we discussed how bal tolin applies to paying child workers as well
as adults. Another issue in which bal tolin is relevant is paying the exact
amount owed. If the employer owes a certain amount of money, he may not
round down that amount unless he obtains the specific consent of the worker.
For example, an employer owed his worker $154.25; he wrote a check of $154,
rounding down the 25 cents and the worker took the check but never said he
agreed to the reduction. In such a case the employer has transgressed no
less than six Torah commandments.
Another common situation in which bal tolin can easily be transgressed;
after the work has been completed the employer might feel he owes less money
than was originally agreed to; accordingly, he may try to pay less to the
worker hoping that the worker does not object. Such behavior is forbidden
from the Torah, even if he reduces the payment by a tiny amount.
1. Much of the information for this essay is taken from "Halachos of
Other People's Money" by Rabbi Yisroel Pinchos Bodner.