What are my rights on an employer falsely accusing me of fraud

Asked over 1 year ago - El Monte, CA

I took a credit card payment from the cardholders over the phone and entered it manually with cardholders consent . I was told a few days later that the payment did not go through and was accused of fraud because I entered it manually . The person was called and came into the office to pay the balance . I was told charges were not going to be pressed against me . I was written up and told not commit any thing else fraudulently . I was insulted and embarrassed . Does my employer have aright to do that I was just doing my job

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Christine C McCall

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You say that you were just doing your job. But the write-up and criticism from your employer are conclusive evidence that your employer wants to correct something in the way that you do your job. You need to pay attention and absorb and be responsive to that correction if you want to retain your employment. Even if you were trained differently than your employer is now instructing, you need to be compliant with your employer's new revised instructions.

    Employee write-ups are not required or regulated by law. They are an employment tool, voluntarily adopted by the employer (unless there is a union agreement that provides for them). So, in almost all instances, employers have an absolute right to issue a write-up or to act in the absence of issuing one. If an employer makes an accusation in the context of criticizing or correcting employee performance, that statement will ordinarily be lawful, whether the statement is verbal or set forth in an employee write-up.

    My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice.... more
  2. Marilynn Mika Spencer

    Contributor Level 20

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Unfortunately, employees and job applicants have very few employment rights, and employers have a lot of leeway in how they choose to run their businesses. In general, an employer can be unfair, obnoxious or bad at management. And an employer can make decisions based on faulty or inaccurate information. An employer has no obligation to warn an employee that he or she is not performing as the employer wants. It’s not a level playing field. An employer hires employees to provide work for its benefit, not for the benefit of the employees. Don't expect the employer to take care of its employees; it doesn’t have to and it rarely does.

    There are some limitations on what an employer can do, mostly in the areas of public policy (such as discrimination law or whistle blowing), contract law, union-employer labor relations, and constitutional due process for government employees. Please see my guide to at-will employment in California which should help you understand employment rights: http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/an-overvie.... After you take a look at the guide, you may be able to identify actions or behavior that fits one of the categories that allows for legal action. If so, an experienced plaintiffs employment attorney may be helpful.

    Now with a better understanding of your limited legal rights, consider a strategic solution instead. Consider tackling this directly, professionally and respectfully. Understand the company may have misunderstood events or perhaps felt there was something wrong with your work but never told you. Ask to speak with HR. Ask if you’ve done something indicating you are a poor worker or if the employer thinks you were responsible for something that happened. Maybe something was misinterpreted, though probably not. But if so, you can explain your side. More likely you will never know what is really going on. However, a mature conversation may change the way the employer treats you and may cause a change in the decision.

    Whatever you do, don't challenge the employer’s authority. Indicate you want to continue your working relationship and value your job. Explain you care about doing a good job. Mention your good work record if you have one. Explain you would never intentionally do anything against the company's or your boss' interest.

    Do not blame anyone else even if you believe someone deserves it; this cannot help you. Only talk about yourself, that you want to do a good job, and you regret the situation. Ask what you can do to improve things for the future. Don't give anyone a reason to get angry.

    The company may see you more favorably after this. Even if it doesn’t save your job, it may prevent a fight about unemployment and might get you a good job reference.

    I know it's annoying to have to do this when you didn't do anything wrong, but remember, an employer doesn't need a reason to fire you. And as we all know, the current economy is tough and jobs are hard to come by.

    Employment rights come from the state and federal legislatures. One of the best things people can do to improve their employment rights is vote for candidates with a good record on pro-employee, anti-corporate legislation. Another way to protect employment rights is to form or affiliate with a union, or participate in a union already in place.

    I hope you can resolve your situation and wish you the best.

    twitter.com/MikaSpencer *** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the... more
  3. Nicholas Basil Spirtos

    Contributor Level 20

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Unfortunately, yes, your employer can do that.

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