Can You Be Fired Because You Were the Victim of a Crime?

Jan 24 2024

Amanda DeMatteis: Hi, Josh.

Josh Goodbaum: Hi, Amanda. What are we talking about today?

DeMatteis: I thought we would talk about a potential client that comes in to see you and says, “Hey, I got fired from my job because my company car got stolen on my watch and my employer turns around and terminates me. I didn’t do anything wrong. Do I have a clause of action against my employer for terminating me because my company vehicle was stolen?”

Goodbaum: Probably not. You say you didn’t do anything wrong – you weren’t negligent in any way – but your employer might disagree. Maybe you left the keys in the car. Maybe you left the door unlocked. Certainly, your employer can fire you – and I think with decent reason – if you haven’t taken appropriate measures to safeguard the car that they entrusted to you.

But I think you’re asking a broader question, which is: “I’ve been the victim of a crime. Can I be fired for that?” And the answer is: it’s a little bit unclear, but probably sometimes yes, sometimes no.

There’s a Connecticut statute that’s on point. It’s at section 54-85b of the General Statutes. And what it says is that you can’t be fired from your job or otherwise penalized because you have reported a crime to the police or because you’ve assisted in an investigation or because you’ve been a victim of what’s called a “crime of family violence” – think about domestic violence, spousal violence, the violation of a restraining order by somebody else. But implicit in the idea that you can’t be fired because you’re a victim of a crime of family violence is the idea that you’re not protected if you’re a victim of some other kind of crime.

So, if your employer fires you and says, “Hey, we’re not firing you because you were the victim of a crime. We’re firing you because you got the police involved and we didn’t want the police involved,” then I think you’ve got a claim. It’s always protected to go to the police and report a crime. But, if your employer just says, “You reported your car stolen – your company car stolen – and we don’t think you did a good job guarding it, or we just don’t think you took appropriate measures to safeguard the car,” then I think you’re probably out of luck.

But have a look at section 54-85b – that might provide some recourse. And don’t hesitate to talk to an employment lawyer. It certainly can’t hurt.

DeMatteis: Thanks very much, Josh. And thank you for watching. Take care.

Share this Post

amanda dematteis speaking on being fired for being the victim of a crime

About the Author

Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti, P.C.

You deserve justice. We are here to fight for you.

Best Lawyers

Let Us Review Your Case

    We will respond to your message promptly. Although we will keep your message strictly confidential, please note that contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship.

    Client Experiences

    During a very difficult employment situation, I was referred to Joe Garrison. Recognizing the volatile and time sensitive nature of my employment situation, Mr. Garrison met with me immediately (on the weekend no less). He listened to the details of my case, was able to think through possible creative solutions to offer the employer, and was responsive to my myriad of questions. He understood my concerns about litigation versus settlement, and he worked to find the best resolution possible. I am grateful to have had his support at a very difficult time. —J.C., New Haven, CT

    You will never meet a more knowledgeable and compassionate professional than Steve Fitzgerald. My employment situation was very complex, and Attorney Fitzgerald kept me focused while remaining extremely adept and “thinking on his feet.” Should the need present itself again, I would never seek anyone else’s counsel regarding employment issues. I cannot recommend him highly enough. — J.R., New Haven, CT

    Nina Pirrotti provided outstanding legal advice and was trustworthy, dependable, and responsive. From the start, I was confident that her knowledge and experience would obtain favorable results. On a more personal note, I enjoyed working with her and her staff and felt I was included in every part of the process. The dedication, concern, and interest in me as a client was greatly appreciated, and Nina has earned my highest recommendation. — J.H., Monroe, CT

    I recently found myself in need of a lawyer in handling a dispute with my former employer. I was fortunate to retain Josh Goodbaum as my legal counsel. His legal skills knowledge and professionalism shone through in every step of the process resulting in a very positive result. I highly recommend Josh if you find yourself in need of legal counsel. — S.R., Guilford, CT

    When I go to a lawyer for advice, I am usually anxious, particularly the first meeting. Amanda DeMatteis was clear in describing my options and immediately set me at ease. Realistic assessment is important, and Amanda was clear as to how to set up the case and the direction she felt we should go. I had total confidence in her abilities and knew I was being well represented against a large corporation. More importantly, we were successful! —N.M., Haddam, CT

    Proven Results & Personalized Attention When You Need It Most

    American Law Institute Super Lawyers American College of Trial Lawyers Best Lawyers The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
    Back to Top
    (203) 815-1716