I need some legal advise. I don't suppose that anybody here would be willing to help me out, provide information or at least hear out my story, would they?
Sorry for the buffer, but it's a very long story and I didn't want to just post it hahaha.
Here you can chat about anything that's not Warriors related.
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 7:58 pm
Location: the nickel and dime
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sorry i dont know anything about the law except, plead the fifth whenever you can. hope that helps.
I got fired from my job yesterday, November 3rd. But I was not fired under normal circumstances, however. My employment was terminated due to accusations of petty theft, a crime which I did not commit.
Before I continue I think it might be worth noting that I was employed by a family business…illegally. I was being paid in cash under the table because my employers did not want to pay taxes. This business was an independent coffee shop.
The day started like any normal work day would, with me arriving to work around 1:50 PM for my shift, which was supposed to last from 2-9 pm. Upon getting called in I was taken to the back room and cornered by my two bosses in front of a video monitor.
I had gotten disciplined a few days before due to the fact that I liked to "prime" my tip jar during my shift (meaning that I would change out all of the coins for bills so that I would get tipped more dollars throughout my shift). My bosses had called me on my previous shift saying that they did not pay me to prime the tip jar, that they did not care if I get tipped or not and that I should be spending the 3 minutes a day that I spent priming the tip jar cleaning their store.
I took it in stride and simply did the extra cleaning that they asked me to do. I did not prime the tip jar until I was on my own time on lunch.
So, fast forward to Tuesday where I am cornered in the back. One of my bosses, the wife, reiterated that she had talked to me Sunday about priming the tip jar. I replied that I had not done it after she had talked to me about. She interrupted me and said that I had been loading up the tip jar with THEIR CASH. They went on to show me a video from one of their security cameras which portrayed me helping a customer.
Now, at this coffee shop many of the regulars simply leave dollar bills on the counter if they are in the rush because the coffee is self-serve. In the aforementioned video I was busy with another customer when one of the regulars come in and left two dollars on the counter. I proceeded to complete my transaction with the other customer, after which I was tipped. Then, moving away to continue with my daily tasks, I picked up the two dollars left on the counter and dropped them in the tip jar. In the video, it is clear that I am not paying attention to what I am doing and simply mistook the two dollars as a tip.
My bosses played this video back for me three times. I said that it was clearly me making an absent minded mistake, and that I would be glad to pay back the two dollars mistakenly taken by me. They said that this has happened multiple times, and that they had it all on video. They went on to say that there was as much as 40-60 dollars missing from the register routinely after I closed the store. They said that I was cupping the bills to make it unclear how many 20's I was holding, and then somehow pocketing the bills. They also claimed that they had complete video evidence that proved beyond any doubt that I was a thief.
Then, logically, I demanded to see all the evidence that I was stealing from the register. My other boss, the husband, told me that they didn't have time to go through all the tape and that they had already been over it all with a police officer who had confirmed that I could be arrested due to petty theft. They both outlined my options from that point on: I could stay there and wait to be arrested by a police officer or I could write a statement describing what "crime" I had committed and then pay them restitution equaling to the sum of my last three days of employment there (totaling roughly $170).
I told them that any restitution that I paid would have to be calculated based on all visual evidence of the tape (which they still refused to let me see). I also repeated that I needed to see all of the supposed proof that they had that I was a thief. The proceeded to get in my face and swear and yell at me, placing as much pressure as possible on my to make a decision. Unfortunately this strategy worked, as in my shocked and disbelieving state I panicked and wrote out and signed the statement as directed by them. The statement reads as follows:
"I, (my name here), have agreed to pay (name of the business) my earnings for the final days of my employ here due to accusations of theft. I will not come back on their property. If I do come back onto any property owned by this cafe's ownership I will be arrested for trespassing."
After I had signed this, they directed me out of the store.
Now, I am not a thief and I know that. My question for anybody here who can help me is this: How can I attack these horrible people in court? What would be the best legal avenue for me to explore?
Any help would be greatly appreciated. I am sorry for writing a novel haha but details are important here. If anything is unclear then I can answer any and all questions.
Yeah, tough spot you're in, buddy.
First of all, keep in mind our legal system and the US one are really different, so what I'm gonna say may not be worth anything...
Of course, if they have multiple video evidence, you're better off forgetting any action against them.
But, if not...
Agreed. Signing it was a very bad move, because, even tho it's evident you did it under duress, there's no easy way to prove it, as you were alone with them, with not witness or any other way to prove it other than your word.
I don't think you can do anything under labor law regulations. I mean, there's no contract to protect, as you said you worked there illegally.
I see it more like a criminal case, based on your admission signed under duress and possibly demanding damages for slander.
I'd pass, because it's gonna be really difficult to prove and it may end up costing you a lot of cash just to pursue it, but if you're totally sure they don't have any more videos like that one, there's a chance, albeit a small one.
Only one but, bro... and that's that an anonymous source is not a valid one to start an investigation. I don't know if it's different in the US, but we have to discard anything coming from an anonymous source.
It doesn't apply to every possible case (like, for example, you can't ignore a call saying that somebody is being shot on the streets just because you don't know who the f*ck is calling), but you can't open an investigation based on such a source either. Let's say it's valid only in case of flagrant crimes that put like (or, at least, health) at risk.
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2008 6:05 pm
Location: Sucka Free City
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These people are out of their minds crazy. They need to spend more of their time cleaning their shop, and trying to get people through the door, not putting their employees through petty interrogations. Petty theft indeed.. Talk about petty... They are ****ing idiots! get yourself another job and move on.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3pIsA0Q ... re=related
Steph Curry fakin Chris Anderson out of his jock: awesome!
look on Turiaf's face: priceless
Wow guys, I can't even tell you how much all of this feedback is appreciated. Seriously.
Well, see that is what I am afraid of. If for whatever reason I made more then one mistake like the one that I described in my last post, then I really have nothing to go on. However, I feel like that is pretty unlikely considering that I like to think that a majority of the time I am at least HALF paying attention. Besides, they accused me of other things besides that. They said that at the end of the night when I changed out my tips I was "cupping" (<-exact phrase they used) the bills so that the camera couldn't tell how many bills I was picking up. They said that I was doing the same thing with the 20's as well.
That is so ridiculous for one. Secondly, I was under the impression that all evidence that they had must be CONCLUSIVE for them to convict me in court. And that is not even considering that they used this supposed proof to corner me like vigilantes and basically fraudulently wrestle away my final checks.
I know. I messed up real bad there but I have done some jail time in the past (for something else, though, not theft) and I am terrified of the cops now so I panicked. This I am ashamed of. Not only that but I made by case more difficult by an exponential amount.
As far as proving that I signed this under duress- the beautiful thing is that these people are paranoid freaks and they have a video camera recording in EVERY room, and four in the main store room. This means that they are ON TAPE yelling at me and cornering me in the back. I am not positive but I feel like that should make my case a little bit stronger.
If you could that would be fantastic. Thanks for even offering, same to everybody else who offered to do that for me. My biggest problems right now are trying to figure out whether or not this is worth pursuing and then where to start even looking into it.
Absolutely agreed. Nothing angers me more as an honest man then to be told that I am dishonest. And I have never been a thief. They were telling me that they felt sorry for me because I had problems in the past which was infuriating. I used to be a drug addict but I didn't battle back from that and start leading a clean, honest life just to have these people talk down to me and tell me otherwise.
Sorry that was kind of a tangent. Moving on...
That is a good point and it's something that I have been thinking about. I think that they were so sure that I was going to be afraid of them calling the cops so I wouldn't call their bluff...and it worked. To my everlasting regret haha. Besides, what would the officer do?? Yeah me might cuff me and perhaps take me to Main Jail in downtown (San Jose) and process me, but it's not like I am going to do major jail time for petty theft. All that would have happened is that I would have forced them to take the legal route and even if they did have real evidence, the judge would simply make them total up the damages and then proceed to make me pay them an EXACT AMOUNT...not some loose guess.
However, they wouldn't have done that because, as you said, they wouldn't want to risk it being discovered that I was employed illegally.
I wish I had been thinking straight. It's been driving me crazy. I think that most of the reason that I did what I did was because I panicked and I was so shocked that I had made the one mistake that they showed on video. I think that I was afraid that they would somehow have more.
But even then, there is no way that I could have done that enough to total over 150 dollars or even close to it. No way.
That's some advice that I got elsewhere as well. In my heart it feels wrong to be that spiteful but honestly I need to get back at these people to get some kind of solace.
One question that I have been wondering: would there be any kind of negative legal ramification on my end if I did report that I was getting paid under the table? How bad would the snapback be?
I am 21 years old, turning 22 in January.
I am not positive, but I have good reason to believe that there are two other employees there paid under the table. Their daughter works there, too, and I don't think that she gets paid normally but I also don't know if that is illegally. If he is also then that would make four including me.
One that that was mentioned to me: somebody said that these people have pretty obvious financial troubles and that they are likely keeping very shady books. They could be simply trying to explain away an discrepancies by blaming all of them directly on me.
I feel like the way that I wrote that doesn't make sense, but I hope somebody gets my point. If not I will try to reword.
Somebody told me that I should not call them, and I agree with you both. That same person said that I should have whatever legal representation (if I choose to seek any) I get ought to be the only ones that contact them regarding any action that I decide to take against them. Would you agree that this is a good idea?
At night it was my job to close out the register, and my responsibility to print out a receipt when I did so. However, I did no bookkeeping for them nor did I count or balance anything out for them at night. I do know that they save all of those receipts, though, so maybe that can work in my favor.
Thanks again everybody. I really can't even tell you how much I need this advice and help.
This is gonna sound really bad, but if you have a previous record (no matter if it's not theft), I'd drop it already.
I'm just saying because judges are usually a bit biased against people with a previous criminal record, no matter about what.
I'm not saying they're not gonna rule according to your side if there's enough evidence, tho. But you'd need a strong case to not be dismissed.
Well, that would change a lot the landscape... but they probably won't keep those tapes, man.
But if they do AND you find a way to put them into the case (easier said than done, as first you'll have to prove they're relevant and second, the judge will have to admit that kind of evidence, and you might be surprised at how many times indirect evidence like that gets rejected just because they have alot more work to do than to stop in every single detail of each case... of course, each judge is a different person, so there's also the luck factor).
I'm not sure. On one side, I hate labor law. I just don't care that much about it, so I tend to ignore anything regarding it. And, anyways, all I know is based on our own law, not the US one, so I can't help you at all there.
I'm gonna make a guess, tho, and that's that you'd get fined (as far as the amount, I can't even make a guess), but those f*ckers of the cafe would get the worst part.
Yeah, I also agree that you shouldn't be close to that place for a while (a loooong while).
As far as having legal representation... well, I don't think they're gonna do anything else right now, as they got what they wanted once you signed the statement. So it's up to you. It's never a bad thing to at least talk to a lawyer and check if it's worth pursuing legal action against them. After that, you'll have to decide if you really want representation or not.
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2007 8:43 am
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Honestly dude, just walk. You're walking away from this with a bruised ego but no other consequences. I'm only 31 myself, but I've learned in my professional life to leave the "gotcha" moments alone and to never burn bridges that aren't necessary to torch.
In life, these coffee shop owners will likely have their fair share of BS because of their attitudes and actions. It's the way you live your life that will determine what hand you're dealt. Put yourself in good situations and good things will follow. Trying to screw over a former employer is not a good position to put yourself in.
In brief, take the high road and you'll never have regrets.
(GSW for life)
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