Can I go to jail for time fraud even after I resign?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I go to jail for time fraud even after I resign?

My employer placed me on suspension without specifying if it is paid or unpaid while our corporate client conducts their part of the investigation on myself and another employee. They have me on camera taking breaks on the clock which I have valid medical reasons for which I did admit to when interviewed and they are calling it time fraud. I’m going to send an email of resignation before I get terminated, however I am worried that I could face jail time or a lawsuit for this even after I resign. Is that possible or would the employer find it’s too much of a hassle and just let me leave without incident?

Asked on May 8, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Technically, you did commit a form of theft by taking breaks on the clock and being paid when you were not working. However, it is highly unlikely that even if your employer wanted to press charges that the authorities would do so--they tend to view matters like this (despite it being a form of theft) as "civil," not criminal matters. So charges, being convicted, or facing jail time (since even if convicted, you'd likely get a fine or probation) is unlikely--possible, but unlikely. 
As to a lawsuit: if you cost them several thousand dollars in time, they may sue you--it could be worth their while. If only several hundred or less, they are very unlikely to think a lawsuit is worth their while.
But in answer to your original question: resigning does not mean you cannot prosecuted or sued, since your theft of time still occured. It's just that it is rare for such things to be done in cases like this, unless again, a very large amount of time/money is involved.

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