Is my Employer Responsible for Representing Me for Molestation Charges I Received While On the Job?

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“I once was employed by Wal-Mart in the Loss Prevention field (Left Wal-mart March 2006). In June of 2005 I apprehended a juvenile male shoplifting on his own. The juvenile male was 10 years old ( He looked as if he was 13). 10 months later (April 2006) I have been falsely accused of molesting that kid. I have witnesses, I have apprehension records, I have phone records. My questions is, Is Wal-mart responsible to represent me for my best interest and not just theirs? Is it their responsibility to hire a lawyer on thier tab since I was employed by them at the time of the accusation? What is the statue of limitation for this type of accusation? And any other advice will be greatly appreciated. Reason for asking is because I feel the company is leaving me the dark, after multiple phone calls and no return.”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

Unless Wal-Mart is being sued, they really don’t have to lift a finger. However, it would seem to be in their interests to defend their Loss Prevention staff from such accusations, lest they find their staff ignoring younger thieves for fear of similar allegations. Then again, Wal-Mart isn’t known for making very sane or rational decisions when it comes to protecting the interests of its employees.

Even if they were to hire a lawyer, you would still want to hire your own because Wal-Mart’s lawyer wouldn’t necessarily be looking out for your best interests, rather he’d be focused on protecting the interests of Wal-Mart. And if that meant hanging you out to dry, that’s exactly what they’d do. More importantly, by hiring your own lawyer, that lawyer may also be able to advise you whether you have any kind of claim against Wal-Mart for any breach of duties owed to you to protect you from such baseless accusations, such as failure to have sufficient monitoring or staffing, to ensure that no staff member is in the position of being able to be accused.

As for the statute of limitations varies state-by-state for this kind of case, but it can range from two years for many civil claims up to indefinitely for certain kinds of criminal acts. I don’t know what state you’re in but 10 months is probably well within the statute of limitations for such an accusation.



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Author: Ray Everett-Church, Esq.

Ray Everett-Church is a privacy and security consultant with PrivacyClue LLC and is co-author of "Internet Privacy for Dummies"