What are my rights if my former employer accused me of theft while I was still employed and claimed to have proof but did not?

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What are my rights if my former employer accused me of theft while I was still employed and claimed to have proof but did not?

My former employer accused me and, from what I’m told, 1 or 2 other employees of stealing money from the cash register. Several times the register was short. Loss prevention even conducted an interview with me saying they knew that I took it and had proof. When I asked them to show me their proof, of course there was none because I simply am not a thief. I resigned the next day due to them making the working environment extremely uncomfortable. I have not heard from them since, however I’m still offended at being made out to be a thief. Are there any legal actions I can take?

Asked on December 15, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

IF the former employer has told other people (e.g. coworkers; prospective employers) that you stole when you did not, that may be defamation and you may have a claim for compensation. If you think this happened, consult with a personal injury attorney.

However, if they only told you personally, there is no liability--the law does not protect us from being insulted or accused wrongfully by others, only from having our repuation damaged.

Similarly, there is no protection for having your workplace made extremely uncomfortable, to the point where you chose to resign.


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