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

UPDATED: May 22, 2012

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 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.

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.

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