My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: Oklahoma
I work at a full service restaurant as a manager. I have worked there for 6 years and have had a clean record with high performance reviews and consistantly hit my goals. At the beginning of this year our area manager and general manager left the company and my company brought in new management from another restaurant concept. They have worked together for nearly 20 years and are very close. In the months to follow they forced one of our managers out and brought in other manager who was a friend of theirs. We only staff 4 managers in our restaurant, but they have lots of friends who want to work at our company. A few weeks ago after I had left the restaurant for the day I received a text message asking if I had taken any money from the safe. I let the manager know that I had not taken any money and that I hadn't opened the safe at all since the 8:00 that morning (he had counted all the cash at 4:00 per our standard and it was all accounted for). He later texted me and told me that since only him and I had the combination to the safe and it wasnt him, I must have stolen the $300.00. The following day I opened again and a different manager closed. After the previous days accusations , i wanted to cover my rear and I asked her to please count the money before I left. She finished counting it and while she still had it out in the office I left. The next day I came in and was informed that again money had been stolen. Of the 4 managers I was the only manager who worked both days. I realized quickly that someone was trying really hard to make it look like I did it. For 3 weeks the issue has been investigated by our corporate office, then on Monday a P.I was brought in to interview all the managers. He spoke with each of the other managers, then called me last. He started the converstation with look, you were the only manager working both days, I know you did it, just admit it so that we can put an end to all of this! I explained that the manager had verified that the money was all there when I left, so how could i have taken the money? He said that that was not what she said!!! She lied that she had counted the money! She was the kitchen manager with the other concept (I am the kitchen manager) and had made it clear in the month that she has been working in our restaurant that she wants my job. The P.I. would not listen to anything that I said and just kept asking me to admit it so that we could but an end to it. He finally said that he was going to report back to corporate that I was the one that stole the money. I have not been fired yet, but expect it at any time. My question is do they have to have proof to fire me? If they do terminate me for theft do I have the right to sue for wrongful termination in order to clear my name (I am not looking for monetary reward, but i do not want theft on my employement record) if they used "due dilagence" by bringing in a private investigator? If i put in my notice and quit on my own (which is obviously what they are going for) can they tell future employers that call to verify employement that I was suspected of stealing? I know that OK is an at will work state and they can fire me for anything that they would like, but is there anything that I can do about it to keep my name from being drug through the mud? One server has even been going around telling customers and other employees that I was stealing! They have made it a very hostile environment for me. I also wanted to add that the area manager has fired 1 manager and 2 additional managers quit in the 2 restaurants in our city and after each of the mangers left the company they accused each of them of stealing also, and of course a new friend was brought in.