What is my recourse if I’ve been wrongfully terminated but I was never properly trained to due my job?

When I started working at this office I was told I would be trained for the job and they would explain everything I needed to know. The first 2 weeks of me being there, I was only taught how to put away files which is very simple. Anyone can do this. I was told that the other receptionist which happens to be one of the owner’s daughter’s was going to show me everything on the computer and how to reply to different emails involving medical sites. She did not do this. The very few days she was in the office she would come in, sit down, and completely ignore me. I would continuously ask if there was anything I could help with so I could learn how to do my job. She would only tell me to fax papers. Again very simple. This was the only task she ever asked of me. I tried to ask the 2 owners if I could help with anything but apart from the occasional faxing of papers or putting away files I was never showed anything else. After 2 weeks I thought maybe they just wanted someone to be at the front desk to occupy space since they were not teaching me anything even though I would ask, so I started to bring a book to make time go by faster. Then I was called into the office and was told they had decided that they did not believe I was suitable for the job since I wasn’t learning anything and not doing work and I was fired. This was a shock to me since they never taught me anything. I tried explaining this to them and they simply said that I was not doing what I was brought in for. However, how can anyone do a job when they are not being trained for it. So now I don’t have a job and I am the head of the household with a 4 year old son that I can no longer provide for. I am desperately looking for a job now since I was fired because of pure laziness of them not wanting to train me. A whole month thinking I was set and didn’t have to worry about putting food on the table. Now I’m left with nothing except bills.

Asked on April 11, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Absent actionable discrimination, an employer can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit. That is unless there is a union agreement or employment contract to the contrary. That's because without such an agreement/contract you were an "at will" worker. This means that your company could set the conditions of your employment much as it saw fit. Therefore, from a legal perspective, you could have been terminated for any reason or no reason at all, even if you were not properly trained for your job.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, from a legal perspective, you were not wrongfully terminated, not unless you were fired in violation of a written employment contract, and so do not have an recourse, no matter the impact on you. Without a contract, you were an employee at will; an employee at will can terminated at any time, for any reason, including completely unfair ones--such as not being able to do a job because you were never properly trained or supervised. An employee does not need to train or supervise you; and they can simply decide to terminat you, and there is nothing you can do about--again, unless a written employment contract was violated.

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