Can I be fired for stealing despite being innocent?

By Jack Tuckner, Esq.

The question is: I was fired for stealing, but I am innocent. Is there anything I can do about it? When it comes to the job, there’s really not a lot that you can do about it. At least not legally, because, you are allowed to be fired for stealing, and it doesn’t matter whether you are innocent. It only matters whether or not the employer is using that reason to fire you for unlawful reasons, discriminatory reasons, or retaliatory reasons, because you complained about some kind of differential treatment that is illegal.

But being fired for stealing whether you are guilty or not, doesn’t matter because your employer can fire you for any reason. Your employer can fire you for crazy reasons, just not illegal ones. So, if your employer fires you because it says, “We think you were the second gunman on the grassy knoll back in 1963 and you killed John F. Kennedy,” and you protest and say, “That’s nuts I was not even born yet,” it doesn’t matter because you could be fired for crazy reasons, just not illegal ones. So, unless they are using that reason – that, you stole money from the safe, or you killed John F. Kennedy in 1963 – to mask the real reason you’re being fired; you did not have sex with your boss, you are a person of color, you are over 40, you are disabled, etc., you can be fired for crazy or reasons that are not true, as long as they are not illegal ones.

So that’s what you want to look for – what is it about you that distinguishes you, that might give you a certain amount of leverage to fight back against your employer, even if you were fired for stealing and of which you are decidedly not guilty.