Can my old boss sue me for not “doing my job”?

UPDATED: Jul 16, 2015

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Jul 16, 2015Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can my old boss sue me for not “doing my job”?

I left my job due to the fact that the job was causing me stress. I did everything she asked me to do but would sometimes end up on the computer for my own personal leisure. At the end of the day, all my work was done. She has records pulling my internet activity but that is it. I have also done jobs for her outside of the office that have not required me even sitting in front of a computer. She wants to get back all the money she has paid me this summer. I am a 20 year old college student who is working part-time for her.

Asked on July 16, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

In theory, if you spent excessive time on personal leisure or entertainment at work, you did steal from your employer: you represented that you were working when you were not, and were paid for time you spent on your own activities. You boss could sue you to recover that "overpayment"--the amount you were paid for work you did not do. She cannot recover money from work that you did do, however. She cannot get the money unless she sues you and wins. And making her case would be very difficult for her:

1) It is accepted that employees spend *some* time on their own projects, chores or entertainment at work. She would have to have good proof that you personal activities truly went beyond the norm and represented a theft of time from her business.

2) She could have fired you at any time for underperformance. If she knew of your leisure activities and did not fire you, she will be hard-pressed to recover money, since a court could conclude that by not firing you, she "ratified" how you worked. Only if the amount of time you spent on leisure, not work, was not known to her at the time should she have a good case for recovering money now.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption