In our last Employment Law post we discussed a few examples of working with a horrible boss and some actions you could take to protect yourself. Part two of this blog will examine three other: False Imprisonment, Defamation, and Negligence.

False Imprisonment

False imprisonment occurs when an employee is intentionally and illegally held against his or her will for any amount of time. You do not have to be physically restrained in order for it to qualify as a false imprisonment. What is required is that you have no means of escape, either because the doors are locked or because you are threatened with harm if you try to leave.

For example:

  1. An employer is convinced you have stolen from the company. The employer takes you to a room and refuses to let you leave until you confess or name the person who actually stole, without conducting a reasonable investigation. A false imprisonment has occurred if there is no attempt toward conducting a reasonable investigation and the employer’s sole action was to lock you into a room and coerce a confession.
  2. A false imprisonment has occurred if an employer requires you to meet a work deadline and refuses to let you leave until you have completed it, either by locking all of the doors preventing you from leaving your workspace for any reason.
  3. An employer calls you in his or her office and refuses to let you leave while the employer investigates a possible theft. This action becomes false imprisonment when the time of confinement surpasses a reasonable amount of time, such as a 3-hour detainment for a theft of a stapler.


Defamation occurs when a person communicates a lie or false accusation about you to a third party, which results in damage to your reputation. Written defamation is libel, while oral defamation is slander. Defamation requires either malicious acting or recklessness in determining the truth of a statement.

For example: 

  1. Your boss, at a holiday party, is talking to your supervisor about your work performance. Your boss maliciously offers false accusations about you, saying you are a known thief and you sleep at your desk more than you do your work. As a result, you are passed over for a promotion for no other reason than that conversation.
  2. You are trying to find a new job and your potential new employer calls your current boss for a reference. Your boss blatantly lies to the employer, saying that it would be a mistake to hire you because you have poor work performance and bad conduct, despite your pristine work record.
  3. A supervisor is conducting your quarterly review and writes that your work performance is sloppy and you’ve never completed a task on time. These statements are wholly untrue and the supervisor knows it, but your supervisor wants to make sure you aren’t considered for the upcoming promotion. As a result, you don’t get promoted and it is because of your scathing quarterly review.


California law makes an employer liable for an employee’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional wrongful acts when the employer knew or should have known that the employee was a risk to others. The employer is responsible for any harm that occurs under respondeat superior, which holds an employer vicariously liable for the negligence of employees. Additionally, an employer may be negligent for failure to properly train you and injury results.

For example:

  1. Your boss hires an employee but fails to do the requisite background checks and it is later revealed that the new employee has a well-documented history of violence in the workplace and assaults you and you get injured. Your boss is liable for the assault under the theory of negligence and respondeat superior.
  2. Your boss hires you to do construction work but does not train you properly on how to use the equipment. One day you use the equipment incorrectly and injure yourself. Your employer will be held liable for negligently training you.
  3. You have a coworker that nobody likes because the coworker perpetually displays rude behavior and often resorts to sexual harassment of other coworkers. You report this conduct to your boss but your boss tells you you are being too sensitive. As a result, you quit because you have developed extreme anxiety from being bullied or harassed by that coworker. Your boss may be held liable for negligent retention of that employee. 

Uplift Law Defends Your Rights

Have you had a horrible boss? Let us know in the comments below.

Again, if your encounter a horrible boss, Uplift Law can help protect you and your rights. Call us today.