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When Your Employer Accuses You of a Crime

Posted on in BGL Law
When Your Employer Accuses You of a CrimeIt is frightening to be accused of committing a crime. When it is your employer making the allegation, you are particularly worried about whether you will:

  • Lose your job;
  • Face criminal charges; and
  • Be unable to continue your career.

Employers can accuse you of serious offenses, such as theft, drug use or assaulting another employee. However, your employer is not a legal authority, and workplace allegations are not the same as criminal charges. As an employee, you have a right to defend yourself against criminal accusations in order to save your job, or at least your reputation.

Right to Review

If your employer accuses you of a crime, one of the first actions you must take is to request to see the records your employer has on you. Illinois' Personnel Record Review Act gives employees access to any records that an employer will cite in order to take disciplinary action. Your employer's documents should show how it investigated your alleged criminal activity before accusing you of the crime. The law does not require your employer to give you a copy of your records. You may need to inspect the documents at your employer's office.

Scrutinizing the Investigation

Reviewing your employer's personnel records helps you understand whether it conducted a proper investigation into your alleged criminal conduct. Legal advisers often instruct employers to make criminal accusations against employees only after they have sufficiently investigated the matter. Employees can sue their employers for defamation of character if the employers make false accusations. Depending on the nature of your employment contract, your employer may be able to fire you based on circumstantial evidence. However, any criminal charges your employer wants to file against you must be supported by more substantial evidence.

Stand Up to Intimidation

It may feel like your employer has power over you, but it does not have any legal authority concerning criminal charges. When your employer accuses you of committing a crime, it cannot:

  • Compel you to confess to a crime or speak about the accusation;
  • Hold you in a meeting against your will;
  • Seize your personal property as evidence; or
  • Threaten to file criminal charges if you do not cooperate.

Employers who take these actions can face criminal fines and civil damages.

Criminal Defense

If you have been accused of a crime, you should not speak to anyone before consulting your lawyer. A McHenry County criminal defense attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can defend you against false criminal charges. To schedule a free consultation, call 815-338-3838.



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