Q: Can I be fired and forced to payback money?
Someone called my work posing as the boss and had me send them $990. My boss told me I had to pay it back or be fired. Under the threat of being fired I obliged but later called hr to tell them what happened, and that I didn’t feel it was right to be forced to payback the money. My boss fired me today. Is that legal? Can I get my $990 back? Can I file a lawsuit for wrongful termination? I live in California.
More facts would need to be known to advise you properly. I suggest you consult an employment law attorney who will further examine your situation and explain your options. Most employment law attorneys in California offer free-of-charge initial consultations and thereafter may take your case on a contingency basis, meaning you do not have to pay attorney’s fees unless and until there is a positive outcome for you. They may also advance either all or partial costs of litigation.
You can look either on this site in the Find a Lawyer section or go to California Employment Lawyers Association (www.cela.org), an organization whose members are committed to representing employees’ rights. Best of luck.
Maya L. Serkova
Neil Pedersen agrees with this answer
An employee cannot be forced to pay the employer any money to address employee mistakes that cost the company money unless the employer can prove you knowingly participated in a theft of that money. Mere suspicion is not enough. Terminating you because you complained to HR about this unlawful demand may well be a violation of the law. However, terminating you because you allowed this loss to occur, even unknowingly, would be fully justified and a lawful action. Therefore more needs to be known about your situation. You need to locate and consult with an experienced employment law attorney as soon as possible to explore your facts and determine your options. I would suggest you look either on this site, or go to www.cela.org, the home page for the California Employment Lawyers Association, an organization whose members are dedicated to the representation of employees against their employers.
Most employment attorneys who practice this area of law offer a free or low cost consultation in the beginning and then, if the matter has merit and value, will usually agree to work on a contingency basis, meaning you can hire an attorney without paying any money until the matter results in a positive outcome for you. Many advance all the costs of the litigation as well. Do not let fear of fees and costs keep you from finding a good attorney.
Good luck to you.
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