Is It Legal For Boss To Accuse Employees of Theft?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about accusation of team for theft:

I’m just wondering if it is legal for my employer to set my team down and accuse them of theft. She hasn’t said it’s a specific person but that it’s one of us I’m just wondering if it’s legal to do that.

Signed, Feeling Accused

DearĀ Feeling Accused:

We aren’t a legal site so we can’t give legal advice. However, you are asking about a general issue so I can respond to that. Based just on the situation you describe, your employer committed no crime by telling your group that she is sure one of the employees committed a theft. The only potential crime would be if the only ones accused were of a specific protected class under the laws of the country involved, and the employer consistently made such accusations without any foundation. But, that doesn’t seem to be the issue in your situation.

Probably your boss is frustrated and angry that someone she thought she could trust stole something and the company will now have to suffer the loss. Even if it is a small loss, it’s really hurtful to feel betrayed in that way.She doesn’t know who did it, only that someone in your group did. So, she hopes that by telling everyone about it, someone might come forward and identify who did it. At the least, she hopes it won’t happen again. I can see why it would be irritating to be part of a group that was accused. However, you might also want to think about the fact that, as you look around your workplace, one of you may have committed a crime and may do it again. So, keep your stuff secured and keep an eye open to avoid having it said that you knew of a crime but didn’t report it. You might also want to let your boss know in a private conversation that you didn’t take anything and don’t know who did but you’re sorry to find out it happened. Best wishes to you!

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.