Can my employer fire me because I refused to do something that is beyond the scope of my employment?

I was asked by my employer one day to clean the bathroom and that would have to do this every Friday from now on. This is something that isn’t in my job description. I’m a porter and my contract states I clean and move cars, and also occasionally help with mechanical issues. I told my employer no; I’m not going to clean the company toilets even if everyone else has to do it on different days. They stated it would be fair to me since everyone was designated to do this on different days of the week. If they do fire me, can I sue them because of wrongful termination?

Asked on December 8, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Do you have a union agreement, employment contract or is there company policy that prohibits this action? Is your treatment the result of some form of actionable discrimination? If not, then you appear not to have a valid claim. The fact is that most employment arrangements are what is called "at will". This means that an employer can set the terms of conditons of the workplace much as it sees fit. This includes assigning additional job duties to its employees. If an employee fails to follow its employer's directives, they can be discharged. In fact, an employee can be fired for any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice. For their part, an employee can comply with their employers mandate, refuse and risk termination or quit.

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