Can someone who is an undocumented immigrant file a lawsuit because of a false accusation of stealing)?

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Can someone who is an undocumented immigrant file a lawsuit because of a false accusation of stealing)?

I would like to know if an undocumented immigrant has any chance in winning a lawsuit against their employer who accused them of stealing, when it was not true? The undocumented immigrant did pay the money back- just to avoid the police but they never stole anything.

Asked on December 8, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Undocumented immigrants do have the right to use the courts, though there are obviously reasons why they might prefer not to. It would be difficult to win a case on the basis you describe, however: if the immigrant paid, that can be considered an admission of guilt; at a minimum, it would say to a court that the  accusation against the immigrant may not have been baseless, since there was reason to think that he/she did steal (the repayment). If there were grounds for the employer to make the accusation, then it would not be defamation. (Also: an accusation made directly to a person is not defamation only; only if a false accusation was knowingly or recklessly made against a person to third parties--other people--might there be a defamation claim.)


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