What can I do if I was falsely accused of taking money from hotel?

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What can I do if I was falsely accused of taking money from hotel?

I was fired for a billing issue that happened on my day off but was falsely accused. Can they keep my last check and deny me unemployment? The investigation is still on-going.

Asked on August 13, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Kentucky

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

1) Unless you had a written employment contract protecting you from termination in this way or at this time, you were an "employee at will" and could be terminated at any time, for any reason--even factually incorrect ones. So there is nothing to do about the termination.
2) They cannot hold your last paycheck without your consent, even if they believe you did something wrong or illegal: the law is very clear about that. If they feel you owe them money (e.g. stole from them), they have the right to sue you for it (and would have to prove the theft in court, to get a judgment against you), but cannot simply withhold pay. You could contact the state department of labor to file a wage complaint and/or sue them (such as in small claims court) for the money.
3) An employer who believes you stole or did something else justifying termination "for cause" can ask unemployment to deny you benefit; you in turn can do what you are doing and appeal. There is no requirement that you first be found guilty in a crminal action of the theft or other bad act, and the standard of proof is lower than "beyond a reasonable doubt" because this is not criminal court.


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