Wrongfully searched at work, can i sue?
Topic: Search case status
July 18, 2019 / By Jessye Question:
Okay so im a 17 year old teenager and I work at best buy as a salesman. One day im just standing there handling my business when the supervisor from the merchandising department asked me to follow him to the break room, he then shuts the door and there i see a manager and another supervisor. He tells me that somebody (another associate, not higher than me) tipped them off that they heard "plastic sounds" coming from my stall in the bathroom earlier in the day. Now, I did use the bathroom, but i had nothing that would make any sounds like that in my pockets....I mean it could have been anything anyway...So he tells me that i need to empty my pockets to "clear my name" in his own words, now myself, scared and angered at the accusations and visibly trembling instinctively agreed and emptied out all my pockets and proved i stole nothing. This douchebag simply says "okay", and him and the manager and the other supervisor simply walk out of the room and leave me there acting like nothing ever happened. Worst part is, I had to talk to the General Manager simply for an apology that came 4 weeks later...
I'm just really angry, I think about this every day constantly. I like my job and don't want to get fired but its just so awkward now seeing this asswhipe especially because on top of all this he was promoted to manager shortly after so I am forced to interact with him now...
Do I have a case, and if so, would pursuing legal action give them a reason to terminate me? I really don't want to lose this job but again it just doesn't feel comfortable working there anymore so i really have no choice but to quit or transfer to another location. Can i possibly just sue the guy that made me empty my pockets or would that case be against Best Buy as a company?
Please help me, i need some closure. I really would like for this guy to lose his job, his apology was not even sincere, he had a smirk on his face and he only apologized because the general manager made him, and again the apology itself was extremely late and artificial.
@whotoblame: Sir you most likely have never been in this situation so i feel like you have no idea what its like to be COMPLETELY EMBARRASSED in front of 3 people. It didn't affect my job status or physical morale, no, but you saying it did not affect my mental morale is just incorrect. I feel like a suspect at work and i have all this built up anger inside of me due to this incident, it has raised my stress levels and i find myself getting angry at almost everything now. I don't socialize as much with my co-workers because i don't fell as if i can trust anyone anymore, I don't even eat inside the break room anymore because in the back of my mind i know that i could be joking around and eating with someone that wrongfully tipped me off to get me falsely accused. Your comment is just stupid.
Best Answers: Wrongfully searched at work, can i sue?
Fran | 2 days ago
Stop whining. You didn't do anything wrong, and you were exonerated. That's the way it works. You weren't hurt in any way. You weren't terminated or otherwise punished. You're big problem is that the manager didn't kiss your feet? Please! How hard do you think it was for them to have to do that to an employee they will have to work with on a daily basis? No, you don't have any legal recourse. Nor should you. The manager was doing their job.
edit: Yes, this has happened to me. I have also been on the other side as a manager, and had to question employees about stealing, drug use, etc.. Your mental well being is your own problem. No one is making you feel bad. They did their job and your own low self esteem/paranoia is causing you to believe that there's more to this incident than there really is. You're the kind of person who gets stopped by the police one time and has a lifelong grudge against cops afterward, aren't you?
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We found more questions related to the topic: Search case status
Originally Answered: Help! Wrongfully Fired?
Yes, that is unfortunate.
However, you must remember that there is probably a corporate policy regarding how far security can go with this. These security guards are not the police. And should not be in the business of detaining someone physically. I would bet the corporate policy supports that. There may be legal issues with someone being physically detained and possibly hurt suing.
And the situation would be made worse if this girl escaped but dropped her stuff, detained and did not actually have anything that was stolen on her.
As far as your statement about they had to defend themselves. No, I don't think they did. They could have just backed off. They did not need to get into it physically with the guy - maybe even for the legal reason that they had no reason to believe he had stolen anything. Yes, they believed he was an accomplice but I don't think that was any reason to get into physically with him.
I think they made bad decisions. For noble reasons. And it's unfortunate that it resulted in firing instead of coaching and possibly a warning.
Not sure what you or co-workers can do about it though.
In order for any law enforcement agency to obtain a signed search warrant from the court, the officers conducting the initial investigation must provide information which leads them to believe a crime is or has been committed. The officers must then swear by oath that the information in the warrant application is true. I'm assuming you are in the UK and am not certain if you can obtain a copy of the search warrant and search warrant affidavit...but it is the search warrant affidavit that explains to the court what the police have used to determine a crime is or has been committed. You may be required to secure the services of a solicitor to obtain those documents. Once reviewing the officers probable cause to initiate a search warrant action, I feel certain you will be able to determine whether or not you have a lawsuit against the police.
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Did you tell your parents about this??? You are still a minor! If your parents have an attorney, I would check with him before burning your boats. You should have done something about this right after it happened. Best Buy isn't exactly the "ultimate " job to have sweetheart, and from what I hear on the TV, people are getting laid off left and right in companies like Walmart, Home Depot and Verizon! I am sure, at 17, you really don't want to be just a salesman for the rest of your life. I would concentrate on finishing your education, you have plenty of time. The only thing that is sticking in my mind is this incident in the bathroom. Please hear me out!!! I am wondering if these guys at Best Buy have documented their suspicions and put it in your folder? Suppose, you DO quit this job and apply for one somewhere else! The other company will most likely contact Best Buy to check up on you! Even if you were completely innocent of any crime, a documented statement by management about their suspicions,could hurt you from getting another job!!!! Other companies may think twice about hiring you. You have a right BY LAW. to see your records, and I would make damn good and sure there is nothing in there which will hurt you in the future. If you can't afford an attorney have your Dad or Mother step up to the plate for you! They are still responsibe for your well being and actions.
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No you cant SUE, as you agreed to the action. If you had said no and then they forcefully searched you then maybe you could have.
If you have done nothing wrong then dont worry. The person who tipped them off has probably just lost some respect and will not be taken seriously in the future.
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You may be able to sue the jerk for defamation but it may not result in the kind of closure you are looking for. Successful defamation lawsuits require proof of liability and damages. If you did not lose your job, your damages may amount to the difference between your current wages and your wages if you were promoted which is speculative. Best Buy would then think you are a trouble maker and let you go at the first opportunity.
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Originally Answered: Was I wrongfully FIRED. If so what should I do?
Unfortunately this exact incident happened to a friend of mine at a very large retail chain. Although the police report stated unequivocally that he had acted appropriately under the circumstances, he was fired as well, because of liability issues.
It makes no sense, but the thief can sue your former company for personal injury damages from being apprehended in such a manner. And the problem is, the company could be liable for thousands or even millions stemming from such a suit if they allowed you to keep your job, because that implies consent to allowing "unnecessary force or brutality" from their employees. By firing you, they are protecting themselves by making a definitive statement that whatever injuries the thief sustained, happened because the employee was acting entirely independently and went completely against their store policy, and therefore if the thief chooses to sue for personal damages, the company is therefore not liable.
It really bites, but unfortunately that is the reality of the situation, and you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The best you can do in this case is to take it as a learning experience and when you are hired at the next place and given a written offer, to make sure you get a written policy on what to do if you witness a shoplifter.
In the meantime, if this job is that important to you, I would definitely get a copy of the police report and file a grievance with the labor board. I don't think it will help, but it will serve as a record for your next position that will actually make you look good.