Accused For Sensitive Files Found On Computer!

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about being accused of having sensitive files.

What are my rights when being wrongly accused at a Florida company? I have worked for this company for over five years. They are saying I have sensitive files on my hard drive. I have no clue how they got there. I am on administrative leave while they review the case.

Signed, What Are My Rights?

Dear What Are My Rights?

You may have no rights unless you have a contract and/or protection of a union. I sent your inquiry to a Florida attorney, Bonnie Jordan, who occasionally serves as a guest respondent to our site, not to provide legal advice, but who helps educate those who send questions that relate to legal matters. Her remarks suggest that employers can pretty much do as they wish unless the individual is in a protected class such as discriminated because of disability, sex, race, religion, national origin, age. However, if you have evidence to prove that someone placed or could have placed sensitive files on your computer, you might have a way to defend yourself in this investigation.

I don’t think this matter is slander as the subject line in your query indicates. An accusation might be seen as slander when it is false and adversely affects your livelihood because of being communicated with malicious intent; however, when one is suspended for investigation, it probably is not. I am not an attorney, so you will need to check these thoughts with an attorney in your area.A ttorney Jordan’s remarks are: I’m afraid there’s not much I can offer here. Florida is a right to work state, meaning that employees have no rights. They can be fired for any reason. If this person is suspected of some kind of wrong-doing and is fired the employer is within their rights regardless. Of course if they have a contract it might be different, however there’s not enough information here to determine this. Please update us on how this all transpires. Is it not best to hang in there and honestly cooperate with the investigation? You may be fired. If fired unjustly, seek work elsewhere. Life is not always fair. Does this make sense to you even though discouraging? Not all workplaces are bad. Each year, 100 are named as the best places to work for.

Hopefully, you can put this behind you and find such a place of employment–one we symbolize by our signature WEGO.

Feedback: Thanks. That seems to be the consensus. I have talked to a couple of attorneys and basically they can barter for a better severance package. I will take your advice. One of the lawyers offered to place a call for me and negotiate a better severance package. In the meantime, I will move on. Thank you very much for taking the time to respond.

William Gorden