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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 37623
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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I was fired because I used my employee discount to purchase

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I was fired because I used my employee discount to purchase furniture, but had it delivered to a different address than what's on file. I did write the new address on the delivery sheet and the sales ticket did have the on file address. This purchase was three months ago and I didn't have stable residence at the time. I paid for the furniture and signed the receipt when delivery was made. I still have my furniture but lost my job because of fraud. I don't know how fraud is relevant in this situation and I couldn't find anything in the employee handbook to back this up. What can I do?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Tina replied 3 years ago.

Hello and welcome.

I am sorry to hear of your difficult situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service. First, I have some questions for you so I can determine what information to provide you.

In which state were you working? The employer alleges you committed fraud by using a new home address to have the furniture delivered even though you paid for the furniture? How is it that they are alleging forgery? Are they threatening to pursue criminal charges against you? What is it you would like to achieve under the circumstances?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

They didn't elaborate on the forgery. They fired me because of fraud, different delivery address.

Expert:  Tina replied 3 years ago.
I see. Thank you for the additional information, Andrew. In which state were you working? What is your question for me or what are you hoping to achieve here?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

California. Is this wrong and can I sue. I want to clear my name and for them to retract the accusation.


Expert:  Tina replied 3 years ago.
Hello again, Andrew.

I'm sorry but I must opt out in favor of another attorney who can answer your CA employment law question.

Please do not respond to this message as it will send this question back to me.

Thanks and good luck.

Expert:  socrateaser replied 3 years ago.

Different contributor here. Please permit me to assist.

Cal. Labor Code 2922 provides that an employer can terminate the employment relationship "at will": at any time, for any reason, or for no reason at all. There are several exceptions to this rule, one of which is that where an employee handbook or other written employer policy requires certain disciplinary rules, and the employer does not follow its own rules, then the employer breaches its contract with the employee, and the employee has a claim for damages based upon the breach -- in the amount of lost wages until the employee finds new employment (or, at the employer's choice, until the employer reinstates the employee).

What this all boils down to is that you must be able to show that you were entitled to purchase furniture at a discount and that there were no restrictions on where it could be delivered or who could sign for the purchase. You would also have to show that the employer has a written policy that requires certain steps must be followed before employee termination, and that you were not afforded those steps. Otherwise, the claims of fraud and/or forgery, while clearly outrageous, are actually irrelevant -- because as previously mentioned, Labor Code 2922 permits the employer to fire you without any reason at all. So, the employer can rattle on about anything it wants to as a rationale for terminating you, but none of it actually matters.

What matters is: (1) there was no policy prohibiting your actions, re the discount purchase, and (2) you were not afforded the steps required to be followed by the employer prior to terminating your employment. If you can prove both, you can win a court action against the employer -- and probably force a settlement. Otherwise, your only recourse is to file an unemployment insurance benefit claim and move on to find a new job.

Note: Assuming you can prove your claim, you could sue in small claims court for up to $10,000 in lost wages -- without hiring a lawyer. Otherwise, you will need an employment rights lawyer. For a competent referral, see this link.

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
socrateaser, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 37623
Experience: Retired (mostly)
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