I employ one assistant, she is my only employee. This evening I received a call from her other employer telling me she has embezzled over $30,000 from her. The assistant has not been brought up on charges yet, but will be soon. She does not yet know this. Can I legally fire her even though I believe she has not harmed me? Or do my own investigation first? Or is there some other option for me! Thank you!
1 Answer from Attorneys
First I would want to know of you have an employee handbook. If yes then you Can only terminate in accordance with your handbook. Second I would want to know if you entered into some sort of employment agreement with her promising that you would employ her for a specific period of time and/or that you will only terminate her for cause. If the answer to that is no, Colorado is an at-will state and you have less than 25 employees so you would be able to terminate her. However I would ensure that you have engaged in non- discriminatory practices - that you have not taken any adverse employment actions against an employee based upon race, gender, age etc. It would also be good practice to make sure there is a new police report out there for this embezzlement. One final thought. If she has not done anything wrong within your employ, should you terminate her for this she could receive unemployment. I would look back on the application. Did you have anything in there about honesty, theft, etc. if you did then you would have cause to terminate her and you may win the unemployment hearing because she lied to you to get hired.