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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12643
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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Do I have to respond to employer after suspension and can

Customer Question

do I have to respond to employer after suspension and can they fire me for it?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am a store manager for CVS in Palm Harbor Florida. They promoted me to store manager in less than 2 months of employment, by pencil whipping training and telling me to go along with it. I have done an outstanding job and have always gone above and beyond my duties and put in 55-75 hrs per week since promoted. I was suspended, while interrogated by LP and Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office for theft of drugs from waiting bins in the rx. I have not been arrested or fired, but the line of questioning by law enforcement and CVS LP was uncalled for give the alleged evidence. Someone stole controlled substance prescriptions from the rx waiting bins around 12/7. I was told by the RX District manager to assist Jackie the RX Manager in cleaning up the RX for our regional managers visit on 12/15. I dusted, cleaned vacuumed, moved Sudafed and other products from one spot to another because Jeff the Region manager wanted to see it in another spot. I was told to replace lights that have been out over workstations, in rx refrigerator, check dates on expired bottles; because they had thousands of dollars last time that where expired before I came to the store. When cleaning and helping the RX department, I found several pills just laying on the floor which everyone said wasn’t a big deal because it was a pharmacy. I found empty bottles, bottle caps, envelopes, gift cards and numerous other items all around the RX which wasn’t supposed to be there. There are numerous other details that we can discuss for time purposes, but the issue is they are accusing me of stealing the drugs because I was on camera in the RX cleaning, picking drugs up and cleaning under them and placing them back. They said I had no business touching the RX waiting bin drugs, even though I was ordered to clean everything up. There was dirt, papers, ants, spiders, dust, food, candy wrappers, ect everywhere! So I was simply doing my job since I am the store manager and the RX manager apparently didn’t have time. Jackie the RX manager brought the missing drugs to my attention and showed me the empty bags and bottles which we all touch and were shocked over. 3 weeks ago a technician committed suicide and one tech was quitting within a few days which aroused my suspicions. We notified LP as instructed and John Lenner LP Manager came into store next day and interviewed tech’s in RX. Than before he left he advised me to be at the store early the next morning so I could help him set up hidden cameras. The next day we set them up and hurried to complete the tasks before anyone showed up to work. Than on 12/15 Buck Rivas CVS LP RX manager was in my store pouring over the cctv footage. Around 1pm they called me into my office and accused me of doing it because I touched the RX waiting bins and they said I had no business doing so. I explained to them why I was touching everything and they said that doesn’t explain why. Everything I was saying they didn’t want to hear and were trying to get me to admit to stealing drugs. I explained to them I don’t do that and if I were going to do that I wouldn’t do anything in a cameras view since I control the cctv in my store. They kept coming at me and I told them I didn’t do it and this was ridiculous! Than my DM and Jeff came into office accused me of the same thing asked for an explanation and again I gave them the reasons why. They also didn’t want to hear it. Store Managers are allowed to be in RX , which is in policy, and anywhere touching anything because frequently we are called back to help with customer pick ups. Jeff the regional manager said I’m being suspended and to give them my keys and name badge which I did. Than two detectives came into the office while all other cvs personal exited. They grilled me and said I was a liar, tried to get me to say things, accused me of being a drug dealer and addict. They even went as far as asking about my fiance and saying I’m stealing them for her. They asked if they could search me and my property which I said go for it. He asked me to stand up face the wall, made all sorts of derogatory remarks about me, my fiance ect. Then he was grabbing my wrists as he told me to put my hands on my head. He was being extremely aggressive with touching and telling me to stop being froggy, which I was not; and the whole thing is on camera in the managers office. After a few more comments about my past and my family I advised them I wanted a lawyer and will no longer answer any questions. They asked why and I said that is my right and I’ve been extremely cooperative and now I’m invoking my rights because this is getting nowhere. Than he said fine he’ll just call a dog and I said call a dog. If you guys had anything on me than I’d be in cuffs so my employer suspended me and I’m seeking legal advice at this point for CVS and the sheriff’s office. They continued to detain me and ask questions regarding my family, ect. Than I finally said I’m leaving per my employers request and I’ve invoked my
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do everything I can to answer your question.

Can you please explain the situation in more detail? Is your employer requesting a response? I very much look forward to helping you on this matter.

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the additional information.

You are under no legal obligation to respond to your employer, or for that matter to law enforcement. Judging by what you have described and the aggressive tone your employer has taken concerning this situation, I must be frank and tell you it is very unlikely that you will keep your job. You were most likely "suspended" instead of terminated with the hope that you would admit to wrongdoing and thus relieve your employer of any liability stemming from the stolen drugs.

Your main concern here should be the potential of criminal charges. That being the case, you should absolutely refrain from making ANY further statements. You are correct that if law enforcement believed they had enough evidence to bring charges, they likely already would. Anything more that you say can simply help build a case against you--you have nothing to gain from it.

So, the best course of action in this situation would typically be to do nothing at all. It may not help you keep your job, but the chances of that happening are already very low at this point and so it really should not be your priority.

I hope that you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes moving forward.