Question: I was just fired. My boss has been making accusations that I somehow took $2,800 over the last three months, which I did not do.
Even though the person working with me was seen by others on a surveillance camera stealing cash from a client, my former boss still has not viewed the videotape.
Is there anything I can do?
Cottage Grove, Oregon
Answer: Dear Sally: Your situation is far more common than you might think. Either managers don’t like doing all of the work necessary to fully investigate matters of misconduct, they are using a problem as an excuse to eliminate employees who are not their favorites, or perhaps it is a friend of theirs who actually is engaged in the wrongdoing, and they want to blame someone else. Whatever the reason is, I suggest you consider doing these six things;
1. First, make a record of the fact that a videotape exonerates you. From your limited presentation of the facts of your matter, it seems that the surveillance videotape in question would exonerate you. If so, make a record – now, and by email – to those in senior-most management positions that (a) a videotape exists, (b) it exonerates you, and (c) your manager apparently refuses to look at it. The fact that evidence of your innocence now exists does not mean it will exist in the future. Take steps – now – to make a record.
2. You may also want to review an answer I previously prepared for a similar question submitted by another blog visitor. That previous blog visitor’s letter was not about herself, but about the firing of her husband. Like you, he was also fired – falsely – for alleged theft. I recommend you read that short Question-And-Answer, entitled “My Husband was Fired – Falsely – for Theft. Should He Consult an Attorney?” You can review my answer to that inquiry by simply [clicking here.]
3. I’ve also put together a free YouTube video on this very topic: “Fired for Misconduct? –What to Do.” Misconduct, especially criminal misconduct, is a very serious thing. Not only can it result in job loss, and even reputation loss, but loss of your freedom – that is, jail time – in certain circumstances. There are certain steps everyone should consider taking if and when fired for alleged misconduct, and that goes doubly for those accused of criminal misconduct. I’ve placed these into my free YouTube video on the subject. To view it, just [click here.]
Been accused of misconduct at work? Prepare your defense BEFORE your employer takes action. We offer 10 different Model Letters Responding to Various Allegations of Misconduct at Work. Shows you “What to Say, and How to Say It.”™ To obtain your copy, just [click here.] Delivered by Email – Instantly!
4. Your most important asset is your reputation; that you need to protect. If you have any intention of working again, you have to have some concern for what your former employer is going to say if he or she is asked “Is this employee eligible to return?” or words to that effect. While most employers have strict policies against giving out references – either positive or negative – vindictive managers can easily skirt themselves around those policies. May I suggest you consider using one of our Model Letters for this purpose; it is one of our best-sellers. It is entitled “Model Letter for Expressing Concern for Bad-Mouthing by Your Former Employer.” To obtain a copy, just [click here.]
We offer something that you might really make good use of: 50 Good Reasons to Explain Your Last Job Departure. Whether or not you are asked the question, you will need to come up with a good answer to it. Here’s one of my favorites: “Boss Indicted.” (Just joking!) “What to Say, and How to Say It.™ To obtain your copy, [click here.] Delivered by Email – Instantly!
5. Finally, Sally, you would be wise to consider consulting with a criminal defense attorney, as I cannot advise anyone on matters of criminal law, especially in Oregon, where I have no law license. I get quite concerned when blog visitors mention that an allegation of criminal misconduct has been made against them. That is because there are potentially significant consequences to ignoring the potential seriousness of such an allegation, and, too, there are many pitfalls that exist for those who are uneducated relative to the criminal justice system. What you say, when you say it, and often to whom you say it can all “cook your goose.” Please consider doing so.
6. “If people say bad things about you, live your life so that no one believes them.” This is an old saying for people in your situation. My heart goes out to anyone who is falsely accused of serious misconduct, and even more so to a criminal act. Bear in mind one thing: this will pass, and life will go on, if you let it. Take all the right precautions now, and do all you can to protect your freedom and your reputation. But, whatever you do, don’t do anything foolish, like strike back or other foolish things that people are tempted to do to “get even.”
The best way to “get even” is to “get a better job.” My very best to you!!
P.S.: One of our most popular “Ultimate Packages” of forms, letters and checklists is entitled “Ultimate New Job Package” consisting of 10 items, including Resume Cover Letter, Thank You After Interview, Memo Confirming Terms Offered, Response to Offer Letter, our Master Checklist of Items to Negotiate, and 50 Good Reasons to Explain Your Departure from Your Last Job. To obtain a complete set, just [click here.] Delivered by Email – Instantly!
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