Cn my emloyer terminate me for using profanity if I was off the clock?

I was purchasing cigarettes’s after I got off work. My co-worker and I were joking around and she asked me for my ID and I used profanity. The following day I was called into the office and after a little talk they terminated me.

Asked on July 31, 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, you were an employee at will. An employee at will may be terminated, unfortunately, at any time for essentially any reason which is not illegal discrimination (e.g. discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, age over 40, or a disability)--even off-the-clock or away-from-work behavior. Free speech protections do not apply against private employers; therefore, it appears that in this case, you could be terminated.

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