How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask socrateaser Your Own Question
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 38911
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
Type Your California Employment Law Question Here...
socrateaser is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Is it illegal for an employer to accuse you of theft? A couple

This answer was rated:

Is it illegal for an employer to accuse you of theft? A couple of days ago, I was on my lunch break and my employer came in accusing me of stealing beer. He said he had evidence on camera of me doing it but hasn't shown me any proof. I know for a fact that I haven't stolen any beer and he must be mistaken me for another employee. Is there a case here? Can I sue him? What should I do? I need help.

Did anyone else overhear your employer accuse you of the theft?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

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!

socrateaser and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you so much for your time and cooperation, I found this advice to be very helpful.

You're welcome. I hope it all works out for you.