When You Are Falsely Accused of Workplace Violence

false-workplace-violence-accusationsOne of the more frustrating things that can happen to anyone at work is being falsely accused of violence against another co-worker, supervisor or customer, especially if it least to employment termination.

The question is whether a wrongful termination claim can be brought due to be fired based on false accusations of workplace violence. If you are an at-will employee, generally the answer is “no”. Since under the law you can be terminated for any fair reason – fair or unfair, or no reason at all, being terminated based on false accusation of violence is not against the law, unless there is evidence that the real reason you were fired is unlawful discrimination or retaliation (based on protected class or activity), rather than the official reason stated by the employer.

For instance, suppose you have been working for a company for 10-15 years with good performance reviews, good attendance, and no significant issues. One day, you suffer an on-the-job injury, file a workers comp claim and go on disability leave or FMLA / CFRA leave. A few days / a few weeks or even a few months later you are being written up for a relatively minor argument that you know would never lead to any serious issues or accusations against you, and then, shortly after, you are being terminated for another, relatively trivial reason such as raising your voice. In this type of case, proving that the real reason for termination is your filing for workers comp claim or going on disability leave, rather than raising your voice or some other petty reason requires careful analysis of the chronology of events, any relevant documents and e-mails, and also considering how other employees who commit similar, small violations are treated as compared to you.

If you have been terminated based on false or fabricated accusations of violence, and you have reasons to believe that the real reason for your firing is your disability, age, complaining about harassment or discrimination, etc., contact an experienced employment attorney to discuss your legal options.  Also, in some cases of being falsely accused of a serious violation, crime or fraud, you might be able to bring a defamation claim against your employer.

 

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