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NY-fired, falsely accused; regional mgr convicted of grand theft; Claim?

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  • NY-fired, falsely accused; regional mgr convicted of grand theft; Claim?

    I have client terminated due to accusation of theft in 2010 for missing deposits. The regional manager has now been convicted of grand larceny in NY Supreme Court for this. Does client have claim for wrongful termination?

  • #2
    Not really enough information to say whether there is a claim. What law do you think was broken that would result in a successful case?

    If your client was fired for suspicion of theft, then I don't see why there would be a claim. Companies are not courts of law and don't have to know definitely who stole before terming someone. If the company fired for theft but that found to be false, then your client might have a case for libel.

    Also do you know that the thefts the manager was convicted of were the ones your client was alleged to have done? Just because the manager was a thief does not mean your client was not one as well.

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    • #3
      Clients' alleged deposits were among those for which she was convicted.

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      • #4
        What do you mean by "client"? Are you an attorney, a social worker, a hair stylist? We don't know what role you have here.

        In response to your question, the employer being mistaken about an employee's involvement in some form of misconduct or criminal activity does not make this a wrongful termination. We also don't know whether your client had any involvement or not. Someone else being convicted of the theft does not automatically mean your client was not involved. It may simply mean that there is insufficient proof that he or she had a role in this, even though there may be good reason to assume your client may have had a hand in this.

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        • #5
          I am an immigration attorney. Client is family friend. He was not charged, had no involvement with the thefts.

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          • #6
            I suggest you google "wrongful termination." Tons of information on the web (just be sure you're at a reputable site.) The very short version is that a termination is only wrongful if an individual is terminated for a reason that is prohibited by State or federal law. An employee being terminated for an unfair reason or even a flat-out incorrect reason does not constitute a wrongful termination.

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            • #7
              http://employeeissues.com/wrongful_termination.htm
              "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
              Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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              • #8
                That's the link I use - seems reputable site ---info seems correct.
                Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

                Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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                • #9
                  Libel is only if the company publishes accusations it knows are false and the subject suffers some harm as a result. For example, if the company publishes in a newsletter that the OP was charged and convicted of theft. It would still be legal to share with references or others that the OP was discharged for suspicion of theft. That is still a true statement and therefore legal.
                  I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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                  • #10
                    Also, defamation claims (slander/libel) generally must also prove "malice", that the party who not only made a false statement but they deliberately made a false statement. The Paul Newman movie "Absence of Malice" did a pretty good job of discussing the legal issues with defamation claims.

                    Termination law is at best tricky. If a statutory law (such as Title VII) has been violated, then the recourse methods are fairily obvious and you could find pretty good answers on this website. But you are not really talking labor law at all. Based on what you have said, you are (at best) looking for some type of tort with a likely obscure argument. Not entirely impossible, but also not really likely. This is really "talk to a local attorney who specializes in this stuff" time.
                    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
                    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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                    • #11
                      Your client probably does not have a “wrongful discharge” claim for the aforementioned reasons.

                      With that said, you may want to take a quick look at the state and/or federal anti-discrimination law to determine whether any potential disparate treatment theory would possibly fit your client’s situation. Unfortunately, absent a claim of “newly discovered evidence,” your client’s putative disparate treatment claim stemming from her 2010 discharge may nonetheless likely be time-barred. From the constellation of possible causes of actions, I think only a Section 1981 claim would have a sufficiently long enough limitation period to go back to 2010.

                      Of course, this recommendation may very well end with you seeking to put a round peg in a square hole. It appears to be your client’s only potential avenue, though.

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