What Do I Do if I am Wrongly Accused of Stealing from My Job?
When one faces problems or accusations in the workplace, it can be difficult to know where to turn to. When someone feels as though they are wrongly accused of stealing from their job, it can be confusing, as you neither want to have criminal charges brought against you, nor do you want to be at risk of losing your job.
By seeking legal advice from a criminal defense attorney, you may be able to gain a better understanding of what to do if you are wrongly accused of stealing from your job.
Louis: Accused of Theft in New York
Louis was working at a pizza shop in New York City. One day while at work, the owner and the manager called Louis into their office and told Louis that they are recording the meeting for legal purposes, but never showed him the recorder. The owner and manager questioned Louis about money that had gone missing on a Sunday night. Louis denied stealing anything, but they kept putting pressure on him to admit to the theft. After his bosses threatened to get the police involved, Louis succumbed to the pressure and told them he took the money. The owner did not believe Louis acted alone and wanted him to admit that a delivery driver also stole $90. The manager also wanted to know if a specific pizza chef was involved too, Louis knew that chef was not working that day. This chef had previously called the police on the owner for refusing to pay, as was suspicious his bosses were trying to fire him, too. Louis had had enough, and announced he was quitting.
The owner is already being sued by ex-employees for back pay, vendors are cutting ties with his business because of not being paid on the time, the landlord is evicting him for not paying rent, and two weeks ago the owner claimed the business was robbed, but never filed a police report. Many employees are complaining of verbal abuse by the owner and manager. They too have been accused of something or other. Before Louis left the meeting, the owner said he would call that night and let him know whether or not he will be paid. The owner did not call, and Louis wants to go on payday to pick up his final check.
Does an employer have the legal right to record a meeting? Should an employee show up to collect pay? Since Louis was not told what is happening, should he call the police and file a report against the owner and manager for pressuring him to admit to something with no evidence?
The owner and manager interrogated another co-worker who was accused of stealing as well. He claimed he stole nothing and that Louis didn’t steal anything. If there was an error made, then it was a mistake on my part by accident not purposely. When the owner and manager threatened him with the police, my co-worker said, “I’ll call the police for you.” He did. Within an hour, the police came and the co-worker filed a complaint. What’s interesting is that the owner and manager actually did not want the police called. It’s almost as though they were bluffing. The police were sympathetic to the co-worker and said they will investigate.
How to Deal with Workplace Accusations
First, regarding whether to show up to collect your pay, I suggest waiting a few days to see if your boss will call, and if he does not call you, you should call him to see if he intends to pay you. If he says no, you can file a complaint with the wage and hour division of the Department of Labor and they will investigate. If he does not say yes or no, then you may want to show up on to collect. Regarding calling the police, you may want to call them and see first if he is filing a complaint against you. If he did or does file then you should file against him for false report. If he does not file a complaint against you, you may not want to file against him because that will probably cause him to file against you.
This answer pertains to individuals in the state of New York.
Edward D. Dowling IV, Attorney at Law
Location: Port Jefferson, NY
Phone: (631) 509-0662