What are my rights as an employer when a former employee has committed time theft? What actions can I take? Can I sue?
5 attorney answers
It would be a very wise move for you to seek out a reasoned, confidential consultation with an employer-side employment law attorney to discuss this. Suing a former employee might feel like a good idea but it can often lead to many very bad things for the employer. Weigh that against the likelihood of an inability to collect against a former employee and it can be a real folly to engage in the action you are contemplating.
Seek out an employment law attorney to discuss this with.
Good luck to you.
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Anyone can sue anybody for anything. The real question is whether it's worth the time, money and effort to sue your deadbeat former employee.
Even if you win, it could be hard to collect. There's also the possibility that the employee would turn around and report you to the Labor Commissioner, claiming that you underpaid them.
In the long run, it's sometimes better to walk away.
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If a former employee has reported incorrect times, and you have sufficient evidence to that extent, you would be able to file a lawsuit in equity to simply get your money back plus interest. Employees are paid for the time they work, if they lie about the time they work, and get paid more, they did not earn that money and are thus not entitled to it. The more important question is whether this employee still has the money to pay you back. If the amount is less then $10,000, you can file a claim in Small Claims Court.
This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended nor should be construed as legal advice for any particular case or client. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney. This posting is not intended to constitute an advertisement nor a solicitation.
If you have evidence that your employer falsified your time records and as a consequence, owes you wages, you can retain the services of an employment law attorney to pursue your claim, or represent yourself in small claims court or before the DLSE/Labor Commissioner. If you are owed unpaid wages, an employment law attorney can go back 4 years to collect the unpaid wages, up to 30 days' pay as waiting time penalties and the law also requires your former employer to pay your attorney's fees (if you hire an attorney and the claim is settled without a lawsuit or if your attorney files a lawsuit in court (not small claims court or the DLSE) plus their own attorney's fees. The law regarding attorney's fees usually convinces employers to pay up because they don't want to pay your attorney's fees plus their own and they can add up fast. Many of us offer a free phone consultation and take these types of cases at no out of pocket cost to the employee.