If my boss told someone else that he fired me without letting me know personally that I was fired, is that legal?

I work as a respiratory therapist and a month ago, at the beginning of last month, a patient died on my shift. I was doing what he told me to do and the patient ended up dying at the nursing home where I worked. My boss yelled at me and told me to go home and that I could take the rest of the week off and that he would call me. Now, 2 weeks later, I still haven’t been back to work and no calls from him. He texts me later on to tell me to take the rest of the month off. I decided to go to the job and have a meeting with higher-ups, his bosses I explained to them what had happened and they told me they were going to investigate and sent me on my way. They never gave me a call to let me know their decision. I guess his bosses must have told him about the meeting that I had with them because at the end of October, I received a call from a co-worker telling me she was asking about my absence and my boss replied that I couldn’t come back to work there anymore because I had a meeting with the higher-ups. He told her that he was going to take me back but because I went behind his back and had the meeting, he didn’t want me to work there anymore. He never contacted me to tell me anything. I had to hear it from my co-worker. Is that legal to terminate someone in that manner? Is that protocol? Can I sue?

Asked on November 7, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Unless your treatment violated the terms of an employment contract or union agreement, no law has been broken here. The fact is that an employer can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit (absent some form of legally actionable discrimination). This includes how, when and even if to inform an employee of their dismissal. That having been said, at this point it appears that you have been "constructively discharged" which means that you can file a claim for unemployment compensation.

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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Unless your treatment violated the terms of an employment contract or union agreement, no law has been broken here. The fact is that an employer can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit (absent some form of legally actionable discrimination). This includes how, when and even if to inform an employee of their dismissal. That having been said, at this point it appears that you have been "constructively discharged" which means that you can file a claim for unemployment compensation.


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