Can I be fired because of prior conflicts?

I was told, today on my second day on the job, that I was fired because I was in conflict with another worker. The worker was someone I had conflict with in high school but it’s 4 years after graduation. The manager said that I was fired because of this. Is this legal?

Asked on July 17, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you did not have an employment contract which limited the reasons or grounds for termination, it is legal. Without a contract, you are an employee at will; an employee at will may be fired at any time, for any reason, including things that happened in the past, or a concern, whether well-founded or not, that a past conflict will lead to future tension or difficulties.

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

How terrible.  Unfortunately the long and short of it is that unless you have an employment contract of some sort you are considered an "employee at will" and can be fired at any time.  You have the basis for a lawsuit if you are fired becuase of a reason tha falls under discrimination: sex, race, age, etc.  What happened to you may not be right but it may not be illegal under the law. Good luck.   

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