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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Posts
    3

    Default Blackmail in the Workplace

    My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: Texas
    Hello,
    I am a shift leader at a national pizza chain location. Yesterday, my manager brought a bunch of masks (Covid-19 masks) to work that he said he had bought with his own money. He handed me the bag and told me to pick out one that I wanted (these had sports teams' logos on the front). I picked mine and he put the rest in a drawer and told me I was not allowed to hand them out. My shift ended yesterday @ 3:00p and the two people I was working with both stayed for later shift times and a new shift lead went in at 3. Today, before I went in, my manager called me up, fussing about missing masks. When I went in for my shift, he continued to fuss at me saying that he knew it wasn't me that took them, but since it was under my supervision, I was financially responsible for their replacement. He even sent me home without the opportunity to work my shift.

    (1) There was an entire shift after mine during which I could not have even known if anyone took the masks and (2) if someone on my shift took them without me seeing, how can I be held responsible for that? Ultimately, my manager told me that had had to pay him $100 or be written up for theft and likely terminated.

    Is this sort of thing even legal for him to do to me? There is video from cameras in the workplace that could be reviewed to see who actually took that masks, but that hasn't even been brought up. I have spoken to a friend that is a lawyer and he said that I should stand up to them and hold my ground. What do you guys think I should do?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    3,989

    Default Re: Blackmail in the Workplace

    Of course, it is legal. What isn't legal is to take any money from your pay.

    Since you called him a manager and not the owner I would suggest you contact his boss.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    2,352

    Default Re: Blackmail in the Workplace

    Quote Quoting maxwdavw
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    if someone on my shift took them without me seeing, how can I be held responsible for that?
    I don't understand this question. HOW can you be held responsible? You'd have to tell us how it happened.


    Quote Quoting maxwdavw
    View Post
    Is this sort of thing even legal for him to do to me?
    Yes.


    Quote Quoting maxwdavw
    View Post
    What do you guys think I should do?
    Discuss the matter with your boss's boss and/or seek employment where your boss isn't a blithering idiot.

    P.S. This has NOTHING whatsoever to do with blackmail.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Blackmail in the Workplace

    Are you saying its legal to demand money for the loss of something that I had not control over; and if I don't pay, get written up? That is blackmail.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,388

    Default Re: Blackmail in the Workplace

    No, it is not blackmail.

    It is legal for him to accuse you. It is even legal to write you up for it. It is not legal for him to require you to pay for the masks.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    2,352

    Default Re: Blackmail in the Workplace

    Quote Quoting maxwdavw
    View Post
    Are you saying its legal to demand money for the loss of something that I had not control over; and if I don't pay, get written up? That is blackmail.
    No, it isn't blackmail. Blackmail is threat to do harm or reveal harmful or embarrassing information if the person being threatened does not do or refrain from doing something. A common example of blackmail would be if John and Susan both live in homes that are governed by a homeowners' association, and Susan is on the HOA board. The board is looking to hire a contractor to do some work on the common areas, and John owns a contracting company that wants to do the work for a price that is substantially more than another contractor. John tells Susan that she needs to ensure that John's company gets the job or he will reveal to Susan's husband that he and Susan had an affair. That's your stereotypical example of blackmail.

    You've described a situation in which your employer's property has gone missing, and your employer is claiming you are responsible. Whether or not the employer is correct or reasonable about that, your employer is free to fire you for it and to refrain from firing you if you pay for the lost property. I would suggest you google "at will employment."

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Blackmail in the Workplace

    Saying "if you do not pay $100 for the masks that went missing on your shift, YOU will be written up for theft" IS blackmail. How can you assert that is not?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    2,352

    Default Re: Blackmail in the Workplace

    Quote Quoting maxwdavw
    View Post
    Saying "if you do not pay $100 for the masks that went missing on your shift, YOU will be written up for theft" IS blackmail. How can you assert that is not?
    How? By explaining what blackmail actually is, which is what I did in my previous response. Look up the term in a legal dictionary. Better yet, look through the Texas Penal Code and tell me where the word "blackmail" appears. Or read some Texas cases on the subject.

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