Can I sue my previous employer?

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Can I sue my previous employer?

My previous employer was negligent with my personal information. When I say negligent I mean the HR director had a file of W2’s for all employees and she left it at coffee shop and it disappeared. Since, I have had multiple company calling me trying to collect debts that were opened in my name. Do I have any recourse?

Asked on January 4, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

In theory, you would have recourse for the loss this negligence or carelessness caused you--but only for any actual losses or costs; not for simple inconvenience, even the substantial inconvenience of dealing with the situation and proving to the alleged creditors that you did not open the accounts and do not owe them money. In practice, it's not enough to say that leaving the file behind led to this--that may be logical, and it may be correct, but it's not proof. The identity thief could have gotten your information from, say, a company you did business with, to whom you provided it; by going through your garbage; from a "friend" who went through your papers while at your house; by hacking a company or website (or the IRS) which had your information; etc. You can't win a lawsuit on supposition, no matter how reasonable; without evidence that losing the files was the source of the information used to open those accounts, you are very unlikely to win.


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