A former sales associate of Korean ancestry sued the department store employer she worked for, alleging race discrimination and negligent misrepresentation.
In the lawsuit, the woman describes how store security staff unexpectedly removed her from the sales floor, kept her in a room, and accused her of scheming with a Chinese customer to use false credit cards. She says store officials coerced her into signing a statement admitting to violating store policy. As she exited the room, police officers arrested her and took her to jail. Twelve hours later, the district attorney dropped all charges.
The incident resulted in her termination from the store, and an unsupported arrest that damaged her otherwise clean criminal record.
The woman believes her employer targeted her because of her Asian ethnicity. The lawsuit states that other non-Asian coworkers also served the Chinese customer, but were not questioned or arrested, and remain employed. Aaron Katersky "Fired Bloomingdale's employee sues over alleged discrimination" abcnews.go.com (May 21, 2019).
Commentary and Checklist
Unsupported allegations can result in a variety of claims such as discrimination, harassment, defamation, false imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims.
When you suspect an employee, send the employee home on paid leave while you investigate and work with law enforcement to determine the facts.
The following suggestions can help you create an effective investigation procedure plan and mitigate the risk associated with false accusations: