Can I be demoted or terminated at my company’s will to provide a position for my new administrator’s wife?

Last week I met with my Regional VP to ask why my old position in the company had not been back-filled. I was told that our new administrator’s wife was being considered for my current position of 3 months and that I could return to my former job. This conversation took place in the presence of a co-worker. Since this conversation I have been on two HR conference calls arranged by the RVP and beginning today myself and others in my management team are being investigated by our company. I have a perfect work record and was selected several months ago by my peers as employee of the year.

Asked on June 25, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Idaho


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Unless you have an employment contract, you are an employee at will. An employee at will may be terminated--or demoted--at any time, for any reason which is not ilegal discrimination or retaliation. However, it is not illegal to demote or terminate someone to make room for a manager's or administrator's wife--nepotism and the like are fully legal under the law. Based on what you write, it appears that you could be demoted or terminated in these circumstances.

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