What are my rights if I was fired for reasons not related to my work?

I left my job to start a new one on 2/22. I had 3 interviews and was offered the position in a meat market in which I’ve 25 years experience. However, after 2 weeks I received a call telling me that I was being let go. The reason given was the distance I had to travel and also that I didn’t fit in to the retail environment, which is not true. I was doing a fine job according to all my work colleagues and on my last day of work, my boss was laughing and joking with me not knowing that I’d be fired the next day. The trouble was with my manager who I felt was threatened by my abilities and also made racial remarks about being Irish which I didn’t take kindly to.Do I have a case of unfair dismissal? I think so as I was fired not for lack of abilities but because someone just didn’t like me.

Asked on March 6, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Minnesota


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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

In an "at will" employment relationship, a company can set the terms and conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit. This includes who to fire, when and why. In fact, an employee can be fired for any reason or no reason at all. This is true unless such an action violates the terms of a union agreement, employment conract, or company policy. Also, an employee's treatment must not constitute some form of legally actionable discrimination. This means that it must not be due to their nationality, race, religion, gender, age (over 40), disability, gender or in some states, sexual orientation. So if you  feel that your Irish heritage (although it doesn't appear to) was the reason for your dismissal you may arguably have a claim here. At this point, you can consult directly with a local employment attorney.

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