Sacramento, CA asked in Employment Law and Libel & Slander for California

Q: Employer falsely accused me of stealing and threatened me with jail time. I quit the next day. Can I seek damages?

I went to work on my day off to eat at the company restaurant. After seated, security guard said I was on camera stealing purses. They said don’t leave and that they are calling the authorities. They immediately came back and said they made a mistake and said I was free to go. I quit because I was traumatized and scared to go back. I thought I could be falsely accused again and not let go this time. I feared for my safety. I also thought the accusation would damage my reputation at work and lead to a hostile work environment. Do I have a case?

1 Lawyer Answer
Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen
  • Westminster, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Probably not. It was not unlawful to detain you for a short while as they looked at the video and determine you were not the suspect. Your quitting before you ever faced what you feared, i.e., a hostile work environment, probably left you without any legal claim. Even if there was some hostility because they continued to suspect you, that would not be unlawful. The vast majority of hostile work environments are not unlawful.

As to your concern that your reputation at work was damaged, you did not give it a chance to find out if, in fact, that happened.

Good luck to you.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.