What are my rights if I’ve been accused of workplace theft?

Being accused of theft is a humiliating experience. If an employer brings charges against you for theft in the workplace, you’re likely to worry about the impact it will have on your reputation, professional relationships, and most importantly, your job security.

It’s important to know your rights if you’re being accused of workplace theft. It’s difficult for an employer to bring workplace theft charges against an employee, so using the legal tools available to you can help you defend yourself before the case gets too far out of hand.

Using your employee rights in light of an accusation

The following are some of the primary protections you have working in your favor to help build your case:

  1. The Employee Polygraph Protection Act

This law allows you to refuse a polygraph test from an employer. It also dictates several measures your employer must take if they wish to ask you to submit to a polygraph. If they don’t comply with these requirements, you can notify the US Department of Labor.

  1. Review your HR file

Another right you’re granted as an employee is the ability to take a look at any Human Resources files being kept in your name, which should detail the accusations.

  1. The right to bodily autonomy and privacy

Your employer cannot bar you from leaving the premises, even if it’s suspected that you’ve stolen something. You can also refuse a bodily search by your employer. Law enforcement can technically search you, but they would have to claim probably cause, which in some cases may be difficult to uphold in court.

With numerous protections in place, you have a good chance to build a solid case in your favor. Speak with an experienced attorney who can help defend you against a charge of workplace theft. You could be entitled to damages from lost wages and other damages.

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