Accused of Attempting to Defraud My Company

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about damage to your  car while doing company business:

While running company errands with my private vehicle (no company vehicles were available at the time), my car was rear-ended in a parking lot. I was not at fault. I received red card to allow for repair. When I returned to work, my boss said that since it happened while doing company work, the company would cover it. I was told to get it fixed and bring the bill back. When it came time to do just that, I asked the accountant if she knew of the situation and what I’d been told. She said, “Yes.” I told her that one of the places I was going to take it was to my nephew’s shop. I asked if she had recommendations of any other places.

She said to take it to a dealership. She insinuated that my nephew and I may have something going and that he might charge more. I was insulted. However, a few days later, my boss brought the two bids in to my office and said he never told me the company would pay for it. Then he said that to get it fixed. I would have to use my own insurance company, but that the company would pay the deductible. I talked with my insurance company and I have a $500 deductible. The lowest quote is for $900.38. My boss then stated that he didn’t believe the bids because it couldn’t cost that much to fix a bumper.

Then he asked me outright if it really happened on company time while doing a company errand. I was shocked. I looked him straight in the eye and said, “I do not lie.” He then said he would withdraw the question. My answer was that it was too late. He left my office and has avoided me since. I am horrified by these accusations. They are so totally false that when he brought them up it was like learning new information. My way of living does not include even thinking about such things. Do I have any legal protection? I am devastated and haven’t eaten in two days. This makes me so sick.

Signed, Any Recourse?

Dear Any Recourse?:

Our site doesn’t provide legal advice and probably for this size of a problem getting legal help would cost you more than it was worth. However, often you can get a free consultation with an attorney to learn if you have a case. It’s understandable that you are stressed about this.

Learning how to deal with this particular situation hopefully will enable you to weather other unhappy experiences. Life is full of them. Now here are several things you might consider:

1. Using your car for company business doesn’t always come with a promise that anything that happens to it will be covered, even if it’s not your fault. You might end up paying for it just as you would have if the same thing occurred in a parking lot when you went for groceries.

2. It’s the responsibility of your company’s accountant and boss to be careful with the company’s money. Therefore, they were disturbed about a conflict of interest about your car being repaired at your nephew’s shop. Moreover they, like any of us might, question the bids for a bumper repair.

3. Proceed as you were originally promised. Submit the costs for repair with a brief written statement that you were urged to use your car because a company car wasn’t available with the understanding that it would be covered just as it would have been if you had used a company car.

4. Realize that enough back-treading has gone on, your boss denying he said it would be covered, that you may end up with half or no coverage by the company. Decide that you shouldn’t obsess about this and see your boss or company as the enemy.

Don’t gossip about it. Rather re-submit your bill with a second brief note. And if it is rejected, swallow that bad news and wisely next time don’t use your own vehicle for company business. Life isn’t always fair and people, even otherwise good people, sometimes disappoint us by not standing by their promises. Allowing this to sour you hurts you more than anyone else. Therefore, learn to take that is stride. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. This spirit is what you want for your boss, the company and yourself; they can be attained in large measure by your good character, good sense and goodwill, however are the shortcomings of others.

William Gorden