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Can I sue for wrongful termination? Fired for being accused for using company gas card. Been with the company for 15yrs.

Richmond, CA |

I been with the company for 15 yrs. and is trusted to use the company gas card as a manager for company vehicles. One saturday I was droping off a vehicle to a branch in another city and couldent make it back in time to the company as it closed. I toke the card home which I left in my company pants. The next day I went fishing. I found out weeks later that the card was used that day I went fishing. I found out that my step son at home that day toke the card, used the card, and put it back in my pants. I was fired because my company accused me of these acts. The card was use to at walmart to charge for a $500 gift card but did not go through. Used twice at two different gas stations under $100. when asked stepson came clean. I was wondering if I have a case. Thank you guys.

Also, I have a surgery comming up and I feel that they knew that I had to take some time off so there is a possibility that this might be a contributer to this situation and decision making from upper managment.

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Attorney answers 3


Assuming you do not have a contract or a collective bargaining agreement, then you are an at-will employee. As an at-will employee, the employer can let you go for any reason at all, or no reason at all, so long as it is not for an illegal reason like race, sex, age (40+), disability, etc. Without some type of agreement, you do not have extra rights because of your length of time with the company.
Your statement suggests that you were negligent in handling an asset of the company, and allowed (even unknowingly) it to be used illegally. Even if cause were necessary for discharge, that could be considered enough grounds for discharging an employee.
If you belong to a union, contact the union for representation. If you have a contract, check the terms of the contract. If neither of these is true, then legally it may be difficult to get your job back. 510-208-5500. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is not legal advice, because it is only of a general nature. Please contact a lawyer qualified in your jurisdiction to discuss your situation in confidence, using your factual details. Avvo answers are only general legal responses. Item 9 of's Terms and Conditions are incorporated in this disclaimer as though it were printed here.


I am sorry to say that you have no case for wrongful termination based on the facts you have recited. Unfair, yes. But it is not wrongful termination, which is a very narrowly defined cause of action that says it is unlawful for an employer to terminate an employee for a reason that is contrary or violative of a fundamental public policy of the state. Essentially, wrongful termination suits relate to terminations that occur because someone has engaged in legally protected activities, or because someone is a member of a protected class of people. Being fired for actions of third persons is not unlawful, just grossly unfair.

I hope your son understands just how grievous his action were. It is a crying shame you had to lose your job over his irresponsible acts.

Good luck to you.

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Although you do not have a case, it may be worth it for you to hire an attorney on a very limited basis to try and explain to your employer what happened in an effort to get your job back. If you are a 15 year employee in good standing with your company I cannot imagine they want to lose you,

This is my opinion and should not be construed as legal advise for your specific case as there are many more facts which you have not provided.