Can I lose my job over an incident that I had nothing to do with just because I was present when it took place?

I work at a fast food restaurant and recently a customer found a writing pen in her food. I was the manage on duty but I was not making food. I know that it was a complete accident, no one I work with would do anything like this on purpose. The customer was very angry, filed a police report with our local police office and is planning to sue. She was not injured at all, but has kept the pen as evidence. My question is, if she sues, is my job safe?

Asked on August 20, 2011 Ohio

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I'm afraid that will be up to your employer. That fact is that unless you have an employment contract, union agreement, or company policy that prohibits such action, you could be terminated. Actual fault has nothing to do with it. The reason is that in most states employment relationships are "at will" and OH is no exception. What this means is that an employer can hire or fire someone for any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice. 

Hopefully, the customer will cool off. If she wasn't hurt than she has no damages to sue for. Although your employer can still take action as it sees fit.


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