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Falsely Accused at Work. Can I do anything about it?

West Bloomfield, MI |

I was falsely accused of something at work by the boss. I was written up for it. I was told that I was seen on the camera, which was impossible considering what I'm accused of never happened. I had two managers back me up, a co-worker and a customer. I was still written up anyway.

On the same write up the boss asked me to do a project. I finished the project and I was written up. The boss claimed that they never asked me to do the project. Even though I have witnesses backing me up saying otherwise. I was told if any of this happens again I am fired. I was written up with a final write up. I never received the first two write ups for anything. I don't understand how I'm getting a final write up. We get three altogether according to the policy. Is there anything I can do?

Attorney Answers 3


The best thing you can do right now is look for a new job. The writing is on the wall that this job is not going to last much longer. Unfortunately for you, it sounds like you have a boss who does not like you and there isn't much to do about that. It is not against the law for a boss to dislike an employee. If you are written-up for infractions of work policy the law doesn't usually get involved. If you quit under most circumstances, you may not be elligible to collect unemployment benefits, though there are some exceptions. If you are fired, you may also apply for unemployment benefits and if you qualify, you may collect up to 20 weeks (it was 26 weeks but recently changed in Michigan).

There are some protections in the law against certain behaviors by an employer that may allow you to sue for wrongful termination or creating a hostile workplace, etc., however, without knowing more, it is hard to tell and based on what you have said I do not see it. It may help you to call a local attorney for a free consultation to see if there are any such claims you may have. Good Luck!

The comments listed here do not create an attorney-client relationship. The comments are for informational purposes only and are not to be considered legal advice. This attorney is only licensed in Michigan and does not give legal advice in any other state. All comments are to be considered conversational information and you should not rely on these comments as legal advice or in place of retaining an attorney of our own. The comments here are based solely on what you have provided and therefore are general in nature and with more specific facts or details a different answer or outcome could result. The legal system is not a perfect science and this attorney does not guarantee any outcome.

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Your rights are very limited. You seem to have a sharp disagreement with your employer as to whether the negative notations made in your personnel file are valid.

But your remedies are few. An employer cannot violate a written employment agreement (such as a collective bargaining agreement). I assume that you did not have such an agreement and are not a union member.

Next, we inquire as to whether there is unlawful discrimination at work. This would be based on such factors as sex, pregnancy, age, disability, color, creed, race, or religion. Since you do not indicate anything about possible discrimination, I am assuming that you do not fall into a protected group or that, at any rate, you do not contend that unlawful discrimination or retaliation occurred.

You may have certain rights as outlined in any employee handbook. In some states, these are considered to be essentially contractual. I am a NY attorney and cannot advise you as to your state's laws, and you thus may wish to consult with a local attorney. You refer, obliquely, to "the policy," but you don't say very much about that policy. You may wish to review that policy and bring any conflicts to the attention of your supervisor or your Human Resources department.

Most employment is considered "at will," meaning that either the employer or the employee is free to terminate the employment relationship for any reason (other than those rights outlined above). That the employer may have gotten it wrong will not ordinarily afford the employee much protection.

Beyond that, it would appear that there is relatively little that you can do under the circumstances.

Good luck to you.

Michael S. Haber is a New York attorney. As such, his responses to posted inquiries, such as the one above, are limited to his understanding of law in the jurisdiction in which he practices and not to any other jurisdiction. In addition, no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to constitute legal advice, nor to constitute the existence of an attorney/client or other contractual or fiduciary relationship, inasmuch as rendering legal advice involves the ability of the attorney to ask appropriate questions of the person seeking such advice and to thus gather appropriate information. In addition, an attorney/client relationship is formed only by specific agreement. The purpose of this answer is to provide the questioner with general information, not to outline specific legal rights and remedies.

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Generally, if your employer (or another employee) wants you out and chooses to do so dishonestly, there is very limited ways to prevent them from doing so. But if they would terminate you, there are a few important things you should look for.

It is important that you review a copy of your employee handbook and any employer/employee policies/procedures that your employer may have. Should your employer be violating any of its own policies (or procedures for implementing violations), there could be recourse against your employer for violation of company policy.

Additionally, would there be any other reason your employer may be falsely accusing you of these things? For example, if your employer is using these violations as a false pretext to fire you because of your age, gender, religion, or any other protected class, you may have recourse against your employer for their actions.

If you company has a policy to report unethical, unlawful, or inappropriate behavior, that may be the best way to handle this situation. If they have such a policy (often called a "Whistleblower Policy") and they choose to terminate you for reporting the violations, then you additionally could have recourse against your employer.

If you feel that your company is discriminating against you based upon any protected class (age, gender, religion, etc) or has violated any policy, it is important that you talk with an attorney immediately.

The information on this site is provided as a service to the public. While the information on this site is about legal issues, it is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual legal advice regarding your own situation. The facts described in your Question do not provide enough information to give a full and adequate legal answer and you should consult an attorney with all necessary facts. Any communication to or from Andrew Janetzke does not constitute an Attorney-Client Relationship. This relationship will only begin once expressly agreed upon by both parties, evidenced by a written agreement stating as much, and by the payment of agreed upon fees to Andrew Janetzke.

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