You have good reason to be upset if you were accused of stealing and then fired. False allegations are hurtful and finding yourself unemployed could create significant financial hardship. Handle the situation with a cool head and do not be easily defeated. You may be able to get your job back or take legal action against your employer.
Review the Policies
If you have an employee handbook or contract, review the terms. It may outline how incidents of misconduct should be handled and which offenses, if any, permit immediate termination. If you were fired in a manner that differs from what is outlined, make note of the proper procedure. You may need to point this out to your employer. It may also be necessary to remind her that in the eye of the law, your firing could be deemed a breach of contract.
Request a Meeting
Remember your boss is a human and may make mistakes, such as an over-reaction or faulty judgment. Try to arrange a meeting and determine why she believes you are guilty of theft. Ask for any evidence to support the allegations. Be sure to remain calm and explain your innocence. Offer any evidence you have and ask your boss to reconsider your firing. If you cannot get a meeting or a positive response from your boss, approach human resources or other superiors to discuss the matter.
Take Care of Your Finances
If you don't get your job back, make sure you get any pay that is owed to you. Your former employer cannot withhold your money or make any deductions related to the alleged theft. If she attempts to do so, file a complaint with the Department of Labor's Hour and Wage Division.
File for unemployment while you look for another job -- but be prepared that you may be deemed ineligible for benefits. The rules vary from state to state, but misconduct such as theft is often grounds to deny a claim. There is, however, a possibility that your boss will consider the lack of evidence against you and not cite the alleged theft as the reason for your termination. If this is the case, you will get unemployment.
Consider Legal Action
Consider whether you want to contact an attorney. Although it may not be illegal for an employer to fire you for her suspicions, the incident may have been handled improperly. Some people who have been falsely accused and fired have successfully sued their former employers and received sizable monetary damages for harm such as defamation.
- Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images
- How to Handle Racial Discrimination in the Workplace
- How to Overcome Discrimination in the Workplace
- How to Deal With Hostile Employees in the Workplace
- How Can an Employee Find Out if a Former Boss Gives a Bad Reference?
- My Job Keeps Messing Up My Pay Check
- How to Identify Mean-Spirited Behavior in the Workplace
- How to Write a Good Letter of Resignation That Will Not Prevent My Getting Unemployment
- When Should an Employee Have a Verbal Warning Put in a Personnel File?