California Employment Law
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Yes, my co-worker was present.
Okay, thanks.You could sue the employer for defamation of character, in small claims court, without a lawyer. You could sue for up to $10,000 (the maximum) in damages, for the injury to your reputation. This assumes that the employer's statement is false, and that he cannot provide the video that he claims proves the theft (or, any other proof). Your proof is the testimony of your coworker, that he overheard the reputation injuring statement made about your conduct. That's the good news. The bad news is that if you sue your employer for defamation, your employer can fire you for doing so. Consequently, you could win the lawsuit, and lose your job. You would have to decide which is more valuable to you. You would be entitled to unemployment insurance benefits, if your employer were to fire you for suing -- so, it's not all good for the employer. I realize that this may seem rather unfair (and it certainly is, in my opinion). But, this is how the California courts have ruled on the issue in past cases. So, if I were to omit the fact that your employer can fire you for suing, and you were later fired, you would blame me for not telling you the whole truth about your circumstances -- and rightfully so. Please let me know if my answer is helpful, or if I can provide further clarification or assistance. And, thanks for using justanswer.com!
Thank you so much for your time and cooperation, I found this advice to be very helpful.