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Old 05-30-2013, 05:39 PM
1,919 posts, read 1,993,192 times
Reputation: 2296


Originally Posted by 97701 View Post
I had a job for a month and a half. I think part of the reason I was laid off is that they suspected me of stealing. They didn't accuse me, though--people there, the boss's wife in particular, treated me like I was guilty.

I was the new guy there (small business, about 12 people) and a PC and some money got stolen. Someone from the sheriff's department came to my house and asked if I'd do a polygraph and I said sure. A friend said I shouldn't do that, and talk to an attorney. So I talked to an attorney and he told me it was a bad idea--that they are looking for someone to go after, not looking to let anyone off the hook.

I got another job later, with a former employer, and the issue never came up (I didn't bring it up either).
I was watching TV about people who end up getting brain-washed during interrogation and admitting to crimes they didn't even commit. A former cop's advice was that you should NEVER, EVER, EVER talk to the police with out a lawyer. He said that cops are not your friend. You think you are going in to help them only to end up being the number 1 suspect.


Are there any other videos showing anyone else in the lost and found area? Honestly, if there is no other videos of other people besides you.....Man, it's going to be ugly for you.
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Old 05-30-2013, 05:41 PM
503 posts, read 876,611 times
Reputation: 404
It could also be a case of incompetent management clicking through a video file and crying wolf at the first person he saw pop up.
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Old 05-30-2013, 05:42 PM
Location: The Crocheted Cauldron
33,702 posts, read 31,044,237 times
Reputation: 57227
Originally Posted by csvillescas View Post
Ok, so I got called in and they fired me for apparently stealing an IPhone out of the lost and found. It was put there Friday night, and went missing from that time to Sunday morning. They have footage of me rummaging around lost and found, but not taking anything from lost and found on Saturday morning. So they are convinced that I must have took it. I did not even notice a IPhone in the first place so I am convinced it must have went missing after Fri night to sat morning when I was in there.
I know California is an at-will company, but I am not sure what to do. They threatened that if I don't give the IPhone back to the owner, that they will turn over the video to the police and try to prosecute me. I promptly said how can I return a IPhone that I do not have. Honestly, if I had taken it, I certainly would have returned it to avoid any prosecution. But I did not take it.

So yea, my questions are,
1. What are my options? I want to know if I can do anything to fight this?

2. If they do try to proceed with prosecuting me, what are my options? And do you think they have a case? Do I have a case?

3. When I apply for other jobs, I want to use this employment history, but I know putting fired for reason that you left hurts your chances at getting a job. Anyway I can fight this and change it somehow? I just don't want a negative mark.

4. Lastly, I applied for unemployment and undoubtedly my former company will probably reject it and of course I will request a hearing. In this case, what will make this run smoothly and help me in the long run.

Honestly I am convinced it is the wrong place wrong time deal, and I know I cant get my job back. For one thing I shouldn't have had been in the lost and found anyway. But yeah. Just wondering if you guys can help me out with some information. Thank you.
All they have to do is use the iPhone app to locate the phone IF the owner actually turned it on.
Was there a reason for you to be looking through the Lost and Found box?
What is their evidence that you did take the phone outside of the video that shows you not taking anything out of the Lost and Found box?
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Old 05-30-2013, 06:14 PM
2,538 posts, read 3,467,117 times
Reputation: 3296
Originally Posted by CSD610 View Post
All they have to do is use the iPhone app to locate the phone IF the owner actually turned it on.
Was there a reason for you to be looking through the Lost and Found box?
What is their evidence that you did take the phone outside of the video that shows you not taking anything out of the Lost and Found box?
Yes, this is the head scratcher. They admit they didn't see him/her take the phone on the video. OK, well if suspect A didn't take it, who did? Does the video not cover the entire time period? I've seen some dumb rent-a-cops but I think even Barnie Fife could figure this one out.
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Old 05-30-2013, 06:57 PM
Location: Cold Springs, NV
4,576 posts, read 7,748,392 times
Reputation: 4964
What was a $500 phone doing laying out in the open, so that anyone could have taken it. If you claim you didn't take it then they have no proof, and I would request in writing to be reinstated. Point is, if you didn't take it they can't prove it. If you shouldn't have been there then it should have been locked up.
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Old 05-30-2013, 09:28 PM
Location: Wisconsin
13,588 posts, read 11,918,478 times
Reputation: 29052
Originally Posted by Fontucky View Post
Not a good idea. You are on video rummaging around in a restricted area where something valuable subsequently went missing. I'd move on and forget you ever worked there.
Originally Posted by Tristan_Davis View Post
You can call an employment attorney but chances are, there's not a lot you can do. Your employer doesn't have to prove you took something, they have you on video that you were going through something you shouldn't, suspicious behavior. They could have given you a break and written you up and suspended you without pay for a while but they chose to terminate you. If you've worked there for a while (six months or longer) you could use them as a reference, but you run the risk of a future employer asking if you are eligible for rehire, which they would reply "no". If it's a short time, I second the other posters, let it go and learn your lesson. Even if it's a pen, you don't want to get caught with your hands on anything that doesn't belong to you. Good luck, we all make mistakes.
Did I miss something? I didn't read that it was a "restricted area" or that he was "going through something that (he) shouldn't" be going through?

Every place where I worked had a lost and found box or bin in an open area and access was not restricted to it. If something valuable was found they stored it someplace else that was locked or secured.

But, it was interesting that the OP never said what he had lost. If he told his boss that he was looking for his lost sweater, lost favorite pen or lost knick-knack from his desk it would have sounded more believable. If the phone wasn't there on Saturday morning, it could have been taken by a cleaning person or night watchmen as well as another employee.

Why would someone even put something that expensive in an unlocked box? Wasthere really an Iphone in the lost and found?

Something is rotten in Denmark.

Last edited by germaine2626; 05-30-2013 at 09:37 PM..
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Old 05-30-2013, 10:35 PM
1,080 posts, read 1,541,968 times
Reputation: 708
It's not restricted, but you clearly should have a reason to be there. Just looking around isn't a reason. If you lost something, that's a reason.

He said that he shouldn't have been in there. Whether that means he shouldn't have been in there because he had no business in there or shouldn't because now he is in trouble, that remains to be seen.

Either way, if they have the video and see you stealing it, game over. If you can't see it, then I would plead the case that you don't have it, there is no proof that you have it, and you want to be reinstated (or get unemployment since they would find a way to fire you if you came back). Just because I'm in a store looking around and someone steals something, does that mean I did it? Nope. So clearly unless they know you took it, how can they say you did?
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Old 05-31-2013, 07:26 AM
Location: Pittsburgh
5,524 posts, read 5,469,668 times
Reputation: 7747
Originally Posted by skilldeadly View Post
He said that he shouldn't have been in there. Whether that means he shouldn't have been in there because he had no business in there or shouldn't because now he is in trouble, that remains to be seen.
I think it was pretty clearly the second. The whole point of putting found stuff in a box is so people can look through it on their own.
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Old 05-31-2013, 08:06 AM
Location: Fort Washington, MD
671 posts, read 1,111,971 times
Reputation: 612
Why is everyone so hard on the poor guy? Here's what we know:

(1) We do NOT know if lost and found is 'restricted'; if anything, it could be just a place for people to place found things and little else.

(2) If there is video ON the lost and found box, then the burden is incumbent on the employer (in case of prosecution, NOT in deciding whether to fire an employee if it is an 'at will' state) to show the employee actually taking the item in question.

(3) The employer was not able to prove via video that the employee was taking the item in question.

Here's the reality:

(1) If the state in which the employee was fired in is an 'at will' state, it means that an employer can fire anyone for any reason or without a reason.

(2) If the state is NOT an 'at will' state, then the employer actually needs good cause to fire the employee.

(3) Regardless, the employee cannot be prosecuted as there is no evidence that can prove that he took the item, and if they introduce their 'evidence' then the immediate question from the prosecuting attorney to the employer is where does it actually show the employee taking the item in question. The employee could simply say that he was looking for 'X' that he lost (it could be entirely fictional, and would have been a valid excuse).

(4) The employee can file a complaint with local commerce organizations as to the practice of his former employer.

(5) The employee can see a lawyer about potential options for a lawsuit against the employer (defamation? wrongful termination?). The employee does have options in this respect.
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Old 05-31-2013, 08:43 AM
Location: Ft. Myers
9,225 posts, read 6,136,875 times
Reputation: 24086
Some things just don't add up here. Why were you rummaging through there in the first place, you set yourself up for having questions asked. Secondly, if they fired you over the video they must have pretty good evidence you took it because companies are VERY careful about making accusations that might come back to haunt them in a lawsuit.

If they have video of the time period you were digging around they must have video of the time it went missing, so why haven't they gone after anyone else that might have been caught on camera ?

As for the unemployment, forget that. You can bet they will deny the claim for willful misconduct. Employers hate to pay out unemployment under normal circumstances and under these circumstances they will definitely deny the claim.

If you truly are 100% innocent, get an Attorney who can ask for a copy of the tape and review it with you. It may not get your job back but at least you won't have this on your record.

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