Do I have grounds for filing a lawsuit, if I was sent out to work without the proper permits?

The employer I recently left was a door-todoor sales company. We were soliciting in areas requiring a permit. We were not, however, given such permits. We were routinely sent into housing properties which were private property and posted against solicitations. Even with permits for the area, we were still trespassing and conducting illegal business. In less than 4 months, I was stopped by police on 4 different occasions, in addition to being escorted from private property and having to avoidother police officers. Are there grounds for a lawsuit?

Asked on May 22, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

No, there are no grounds for  a lawsuit. You may have been asked to do something illegal, but you chose to do it--from what you write, the most you would have suffered had you refused is the loss of your job (i.e. you don't say that you were threatened with physical harm or blackmailed), which means that you chose to trepass and conduct illegal business rather than give up your job. Since you voluntarily chose to do this, you cannot sue the employer. To use an example, say your employer asked you to steal money. If you did so and were caught, you could not sue your employer for asking you to steal--it's possible you would both suffer criminal consequences, but you do not have any grounds to sue based on your own willing participation in an illegal act.


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