What can I do about false accusations that have resulted in my loss of scheduled hours?

I was trained to be supervisor in retail. My manager asked me to start training another girl for second supervisor position. I did what I was told and in the process the girl I was training said a lot of negative things about our manager due to unavailability when we called her. The girl that I trained, 2 days later, went to my manager and told her I was the one gossiping about her. Without even being asked to hear my side, my manager wrote me up for malicious gossip. A week later, the girl I trained was given my position, along with my hours being cut from 40 down to 7 hours a week. I feel like my manager is still holding a grudge. She’s written me up a total of 3 times in the last 4 months of this year. And the false accusations continue. What can I do?

Asked on September 19, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The only real question, vis-a-vis your employer and your hours, is whether you have a written employment contract or not. If you do have a written employment contract, then if it guarantees your hours or requires a certain process or certain evidence for disciplinary action, the employer must obey the contract, and if the employer does not i.e. if the employer breaches or violates the contract, you could sue for breach of contract.
But if you do not have a written employment contract, you are an "employee at will" and may have your hours reduced, or be disciplined, at any time, for any reason whatsoever--including unproven or untrue allegations. You could even be terminated.
As to the employee making those accusations if she is making untrue factual statements not opinons, but actual factual assertions that you did or said certain things which are negative and which have damaged your reputation and/or caused you harm at work, you could sue her for defamation. If you could show that her statements are untrue and have caused you some damage or loss, you could potentially recover monetary compensation from her, such as compensation for the loss of hours and income.


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