What to do if I was fired last night for an innocent mistake?

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What to do if I was fired last night for an innocent mistake?

I was fired last night for what I claim as an innocent mistake. I was accused of taking a $25 gift card 2 months ago. I did put it in my lanyard with intentions of turning it in but forgot. I guess 2 weeks later I used it thinking it was mine. I carried keys to open drawers with thousands of dollars and high ticket stock rooms and carried a manager swipe card to override anything in the store. Why would I intentionally take a $25 gift card? I offered to pay it back but they fired me and called the cops. What do I do?

Asked on January 26, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

First, unless you had an employment contract which protected your job in some way (including by setting out some disciplinary process which would have had to have been followed before firing you), you may be fired at any time, for any reason. So whether your mistake was innocent or not, without a contract, you could, unfortunately, be fired for it.

Second, to face criminal liability, they would have to show a criminal intent, or state of mind--i.e., an intent to steal. From what you write, this is unlikely; however, if you do face charges, you need to take them seriously and should retain an attorney to defend you.


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