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?

UPDATED: Dec 15, 2011

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 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.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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