Is it legal to terminate every employee when money is stolen from a store?

UPDATED: Nov 21, 2011

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Is it legal to terminate every employee when money is stolen from a store?

At the store I work at 4 people have keys to the store. The manager and 3 supervisors. The 3 supervisors closed the store and the deposit was thrown in a locked drawer instead of the safety deposit box like it should have. Over the course of the night, $1400 was stolen, which was not all the money. The company is not going to hold an investigation but just terminate everyone who was working that night. Is this legal?

Asked on November 21, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, California


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Do you have an employment contract or union agreement prohibiting your discharge under the circumstances? Does this type of dismissal violate existing company policy? Was there some form of actionable discrimination present in your treatment? if not, then while your employer's action appears unfair, it is perfectly legal.

The fact is that an employer has a great deal of discretion in setting the term and conditions of employment; this includes just when, how and who is terminated. An employee can fire an employee for any reason or no reason whatsoever. Again, it's the law. So while your situation is unfortunate you really have no claim for wrongful termination.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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