What to do if I have been suspended from my job of 3 weeks because there is money missing from the stores account?

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What to do if I have been suspended from my job of 3 weeks because there is money missing from the stores account?

I have access to the safe but I have never taken a dime from the safe or either register. I have yet to be terminated and as told that loss prevention would be following up with me. It has been 5 working days and I need to work to support my family. How long do I wait? I have never stolen anything in my life and the computer system is known for it’s glitches. If I get fired, do I have a legal recourse for false accusation, lost wages, slander and the emotional turmoil this has caused? Not to mention what such accusations will do for any future job I apply for.

Asked on December 4, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Mississippi

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You have no recourse to fight the suspension or a termination, even if you are innocent, unless you have an employment contract whose terms protect your job in a case like this. That's because without a contract, you are an employee at will, and an employee at will may be fired (or suspended) at any time, for any reason, even unfair or incorrect reasons.

If the employer accuses you of theft to third parties, such as co-workers not involved in the investigation or to possible future employers (such as during employment verification, or if someone is seeking a reference), then you may have a cause of action for defamation if you did not steal the money. Defamation is the making of false factual statements about you to other people, which statements damage your reputation. But if they only tell you personally and anyone who is directly involved in the investigation (e.g. loss prevention staff), you would not have a cause of action.


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