I was falsely accused of stealing while shopping at my workplace, while off the clock.

It was pretty clear it was an accident (a CD was logged between a large box of diapers). They claim that I told the cashier not to lift the box up, which I did not. I recently made a workers comp. claim and have been pursuing a harassment complaint with the company along with it. I feel that I was accused of this just so they could have an excuse to get rid of me. Also, rumors have been spread around (which could have only come from management) that I was convicted of stealing, even though the company has written rules about malicious gossip. How do I go about dealing with this? On a side note: I am part of the Teamsters Union.

Los Angeles, CA -

Attorney Answers (2)

John Valentine Jr.

John Valentine Jr.

Employment / Labor Attorney - Los Angeles, CA
Answered

You should contanct your union representative promptly concerning the possblity of filing a grievance concerning the termination of your employment. In most if not all grievance policies there is a deadline to file. As to the rumours about being convicted of theft, those statements may be conditionally privileged under California law. If so, that means that you have to show that the statements were made by a specific employee with malice (hatred or ill will towards you).

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Andres Rivera-Ortiz

Andres Rivera-Ortiz

Employment / Labor Attorney - Miami, FL
Answered

If there is a collective bargaining agreement (CBA), and I assume there is because you mention you are part of the Teamsters, the first thing that you need to do is to talk to the Union and consider filing a grievance under the CBA. As to the malicious rumors, you may have a defamation issue but that area of law, in the employment context, varies by state. I suggest that you speak to an employment lawyer in your state about that issue.

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