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Thorough investigation is key to defending firing

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in Employment Law,Firing,Human Resources,Maternity Leave Laws

If you carefully document wrongdoing, you have very little to fear from a lawsuit—even if you’re wrong.

That’s because courts don’t demand perfection from employers—just that they act in good faith.

Recent case: Trisha Devenport was fired from Sam’s Club shortly after she returned from maternity leave.

A co-worker had complained that Devenport fraudulently opened a credit account in the co-worker’s name without permission. Sam’s Club investigated the allegations and suspected that Devenport obtained employees’ Social Security numbers and submitted phony paperwork to win a store contest for most accounts opened.

She denied those allegations and sued, saying she was fired in retaliation for taking maternity leave.

The court threw out her lawsuit, saying Sam’s Club had a good-faith belief she was guilty. (Devenport v. Sam’s Club, No. 08-C-871, ND IL, 2010)

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