Jury Awards Our Client $430,000 in Workplace Identity Theft Case

In the courtroom immediately after the verdict. From right to left: Jim Garrity, our client, and trial paralegal Wanda Cone.

A jury deliberated for just 90 minutes today before awarding our client $430,000, in an identity theft and invasion of privacy case against her former employer.

The Background

Our client worked in a finance position. She held a specialized license issued by the government, without which her employer could not do business. When she left for another job, her employer (unbeknownst to her) continued using her name, email address and license. In effect, it was pretending to be her.

Our client found out by sheer accident, when a coworker at her new job received an email in our client’s name from the old company and tipped her off. Our client was stunned and immediately went to the police.

She also called Jim Garrity.

For our part, we sued her former employer under a law that allows victims of identity theft to sue the wrongdoer for money damages. We also sued under a general theory of invasion of privacy.

The jury of four women and two men awarded $100,000 in penalties based on the number of times the employer used her identity, and $330,000 in emotional distress damages.

Has Your Employer Used Your Name or Likeness Without Permission?

Sadly, it’s not unusual for employers to continue using employee names, email addresses, or even state licenses after employees leave. The law is clear: No person shall publish, print, display or otherwise publicly use for purposes of trade or for any commercial or advertising purpose the name, portrait, photograph, or other likeness of any natural person without express written or oral consent. Every single misuse of an employee’s name or likeness makes the employee eligible for a $1,000 penalty and potentially unlimited emotional distress damages. It is never okay for an employer to use an employee’s name without permission, during or after employment.

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