Terminated and them wanting me to pay invoice

Here's the issue - I was let go or fired if you will, from my previous employer - I was DENIED my unemployment benefits because somehow my employer said I was abusing the internet during business hours - which was a false accusation (I was Operations Manager and performed a lot of the purchasing and research utilizing the net plus I was in charge of setting up the email accounts and monitoring the router and network) - anyways... During my employment, we had an account with Budget (rental) and I was named on the credit application as an authorized agent. I asked my boss if I could use the account to rent cars and he said yes - he was to present the bill to me and I would pay for it. I started renting in Jan 2001 and ended around May 2001. I never received a bill from him and I assumed he was taking care of them. As mentioned above, I have since been terminated from the job in November 2001 - I guess in December 2001 he finally received the statement saying the account is seriously past due.

Instead of phoning me or sending me a certified letter, the husband and wife team thought they would look thru my emails at the office and take some email addresses - they wrote an email to my father and cousin telling them I was not authorized to rent and that I provided false identification and they were claiming fraud.

A lawyer on the Budget side got involved and told my previous employer that they were responsible for paying. They tried to argue that I was solely responsible.

Now, I have the lawyer calling me directly yet still sending my previous employer statements and attorney fees. My former employer has not provided me with any invoices to date - they want me to contact Budget and set up payment arrangements.

They also claim that they have filed a police report and will file a criminal one if I don't provide them with correspondence from Budget along with an approved payment plan.

The question is, since I am no longer in their employ am I responsible for these charges?

I am extremely bitter with them because of the way they have handled the situation, especially by contacting family members and not me directly. Also, for not receiving any unemployment compensation for the 3 months I was unemployed. (I worked for the company for a year and 4-5 months.

What can I do?

1 answer  |  asked Apr 16, 2002 7:22 PM [EST]  |  applies to California

Answers (1)

Janet M. Koehn
no sympathy

sorry, you played, now you pay. how could you believe that a purchase you made entirely for your own benefit (i presume these were not job-related rentals) doesn't have to be paid for? it was your responsibility to see to it that your personal charges were taken care of, not theirs. they didn't handle it very professionally, but that doesn't excuse your personal obligation.
no one, including you, can expect anything in the workplace to be private. you should have cleared your computer of personal files and information upon your departure. if they didn't give you the chance, tough. there is absolutely no expectation of privacy concerning any information you leave about in your desk, your computer, or anywhere else in the workplace, unless it is in a locked storage unit of some kind. the company has every right to search your desk, your locker, and especially your computer, to assure against espionage, sabotage and vandalism, and to recapture proprietary information.
concerning your unemployment appeal, did you appeal your rejection? if you did, you should have gotten a fair hearing against by all accounts an administrative law judge who is inclined to give the employee the benefit of the doubt. you don't say what the circumstances of your termination were, only what you were accused of. in any case, it's too late now to appeal.

posted by Janet M. Koehn  |  Apr 16, 2002 11:04 PM [EST]

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