Managers may be reluctant to report potential employee theft to the police, assuming that if they are wrong, they could be sued.
But chances are that, if an employer acts in good faith, it won’t be liable—even if it turns out the employee is innocent.
Recent case: Syed Zaidi got a job at a Hess gas station. When an audit revealed that several thousand dollars’ worth of scratch-off lottery tickets had gone missing, supervisors suspected Zaidi had stolen them. Hess reported its suspicions to the police, who arrested Zaidi. But he was acquitted when evidence surfaced indicating he couldn’t have been the thief.
He sued Hess for false imprisonment. But the court tossed out the claim because Hess had merely reported its suspicions. The police had charged him independently. (Zaidi v. Amerada Hess, No. 08-776, ED NY, 2010)