Is it worth suing the company?
UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022
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Is it worth suing the company?
A false sexual assault accusation was made. Without an explanation to the
employee, an investigation, or evidence, the employee accused was fired. Within a
couple days, the managers called the employee to change the status from fired to
suspended until an investigation was conducted. The employee has been cleared,
but now is behind on payments due to time and money lost at work. Were the proper
protocols followed? Does the employee have a case? If so, is the case worth
Asked on February 16, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois
SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 4 years ago | Contributor
There is no such as "proper protocols," unless the employee had a written employment contract (or was subject to a written union/collective bargaining agreement) which provided for certain protocols for disciplinary actions and/or investigations of alleged wrongdoing. Otherwise, the employee's employment was employment at will and he could be legally terminated or suspended at any time, for any reason, with any or no proces the employer wanted--even due to an accusation which later turns out to be false or unsupported. Since the employer could legally terminate or suspend for this reason, the employer has no liability to him.
The employee could potentially sue his accuser for making a false statement or accusation of fact (e.g. a claim of harassment which never occured) which damaged his reputation or caused him an economic loss. Such a lawsuit would be a defamation suit. If the employee wishes to explore this option, he should consult with a personal injury attorney (the same lawyers who handle slip-and-fall cases and car accidents generally handle defamation claims, too).
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