Can an employer terminate a non-contract employee for interviewing at another company?

I worked for an educational software company at-will, and was not under any contractual restraints. I asked for an hour off work for an appointment, and went to interview with a school. Coincidentally, trainers from my employer were at the same school later that day. My interviewers asked the trainers about me, unofficially (I had not listed them as references). The trainers notified my employer that I had an interview with the school. The next day, I was terminated by my employer, with no foundation in my work performance. Was this legal?

Asked on September 2, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Since you did not have an employment contract (nor I am assuming a union agreement or specific company policy) that prohibited termination under the circumstances, then your discharge was legal. As an "at will" employee, your employer could set the terms and conditions of your employment as it saw fit. This included your dismissal for this reason, any reason, or no reason at all.

Note: No form of actionable discrimination must have played a factor in your terminastion. That too would be illegal.


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