If a person is caught shoplifting, does the store have the right to call a person’s job and talk to their boss?

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If a person is caught shoplifting, does the store have the right to call a person’s job and talk to their boss?

I was caught shoplifting in a national retail chain. They called the cops who came and wrote me a citation for theft 3; i was also given a date to appear in court (a day in which has yet to arrive). A few days after the incident the store called my place of work and talked to my boss telling him of the incident. My job is now on the line for a crime that I commited else where. Did the store even have the right to inform my boss?

Asked on April 2, 2011 under Personal Injury, Oregon

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Here is the issue; typically arrests are not considered bad acts in evidentiary standards. A conviction is a bad act. You have been arrested for shoplifting and theoretically arrests are still considered public documents.  It doesn't sound as if you were arrested but rather given a ticket, so I am not sure that even rises to the level of a public document yet.  So, the issue here is whether in your state and under these particular circumstances based on federal, state and case laws would this be an invasion of privacy for the store to have contacted your place of employment. The issue that remains unclear is how the store knew of your place of employment and then who informed your boss. If you stole from a national retail chain in a mall, for example, and by regular employee pattern and practice, the store knew you worked for another store in the mall, was there some sort of contractual requirement for stores to contact the employers in other stores in the mall regarding such matters? I am not sure what really happened so you may wish to at least consult with a civil attorney regarding the possible invasion of privacy and defamation and the impact it will have on you, in addition to whatever happens to you at the criminal court level.


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