Can I sue my employer if he posts pictures of me on the company bulletin board and states with the pictures that I am suspected of theft?

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Can I sue my employer if he posts pictures of me on the company bulletin board and states with the pictures that I am suspected of theft?

Money was missing from a register after I was off the clock and off the premises. My employer posted 2 video capture pics of me standing at the register, open drawer, and no customer (I was paying for my food in both instances). Subsequently, without interviewing me, he  posted pics on the bulletin board, in plain sight of all employees, and stated with the pics that I was suspected of the theft and that it was “very illegal” for me to open the register without a customer. He has also removed me from the schedule for at least the next week. Do I have cause for suit?

Asked on March 28, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Well, if you are not allowed to open the register without a customer being present (even if you are the customer), then you cannot blame being taken off the schedule. As to the issue of the theft and the pictures of you, unless you have been convicted, this person has no right to do what he did. It is considered defamation per se (you don't even have to prove damage to your reputation).  You should consider speaking with private counsel and dealing with this at the civil court level as well as the department of labor level. This is absolutely uncalled for and not only would it be considered defamation but it could be an invasion of privacy matter (personnel issues usually are). Tread carefully. Your boss cannot fire you in retaliation but your state may allow firings with or without cause and so tread lightly.


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