I was fired for returning a stolen phone
March 24, 2011 10:15 AM Subscribe
I returned a stolen phone that a co-worker brought to work. I was fired and the other guy was not. Lots more inside.
posted by anonymous to law & government (32 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Ok, here we go. A co-worker brought in a phone that he had found at a bar the previous night. He was joking about the fact that the owner of the phone had been calling and calling but he wasn't going to answer. He told me he might use it but he was probably going to just sell it. In New York, that's larceny if I have my facts straight. I took the phone, contacted the rightful owner and ultimately returned the phone to her. My co-worker went to his buddy the boss and apparently accused me of stealing. I was fired the next day. I was told by the HR manager that they would not contest my unemployment and that they only tell prospective employers the dates of my employment, not the reason for my termination. So apparently I wasn't fired for gross misconduct even though stealing was ostensibly the reason I was let go.
I just set up a consultation with a labor lawyer for next Monday. I don't think there is any basis for a wrongful termination suit (though every non-lawyer I talk to seems to think so) but I've got so many questions. My main priority is making sure this doesn't affect me going forward. A friend who is a legal secretary talked to her boss about my situation and he suggested that I take an affidavit from the owner of the phone as well as creating one myself and then submitting those to my employer along with a letter from an attorney stating that I'll sue them for libel if they divulge the reason for my termination. Does that seem like a good idea? Any other advice as to how I can limit the effects on my future job prospects?
Finally, can I tell prospective employers that I was 'laid off' and leave it at that or do I have to tell them that I was 'let go' or 'fired' and get into this whole situation. I'm a young guy and I worked at this company for five years. It's the bulk of my work experience.