Annandale, VA asked in Employment Law and Criminal Law for District of Columbia

Q: Is it false imprisonment to hold an employee after hours?

A high level manager asks a salaried employee if they can stick around to meet with them at 5:00pm which is normal close of business.

Employee is escorted to a conference room and takes a seat. The manager says they need to make some calls and then shuts the door.

The employee can see through the window that the manager and another much larger manager are outside the door.

The employee sits in the room alone for fifty minutes before being terminated. There is one exit from the room and only one exit from the next room that room opens into. The door is not locked but the managers are between those doors/exits.

Is this false imprisonment? Either tort or criminal?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Matthew T. Famiglietti
Matthew T. Famiglietti
  • Washington, DC
  • Licensed in District of Columbia

A: The definition of false imprisonment is very strict. It is a term under criminal and tort (civil) law. Under tort law it is classified as an intentional tort. A person commits false imprisonment when he or she commits an act of restraint on another person, confining that person in a bounded area. Since the door was not locked in your case, and you were not restrained, you could have gone past the managers. Since you had a route of escape you were not in a bounded area, where you were locked in. I don't think your situation meets the definition of false imprisonment.

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