Can I be fired due to a false allegation that has been made against me by a co-worker?

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Can I be fired due to a false allegation that has been made against me by a co-worker?

A co-worker has accused me of assaulting them during business hours yet the allegation is completely untrue. Now my job may be threatened. He stated that I grabbed his head and violently shook it. It took him over 24 hours to report this, as it supposedly happened yesterday after he was found he was found to have done faulty work. In a lighthearted manner I tapped him on the top of his head with a business card, during a conversation, but with no malicious intent. We laughed about this yesterday but today he exaggerated what really happened, into a violent act which it never was.

Asked on July 7, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, yes you could be terminated or this. In fact if you are an "at will" your employer can hire or fire you for any reason or no reason whatsoever. Exceptions to this would be if there is a stated company policy to the contrary or there is a union/employment agreement that prohibits such action. Also, it would be illegal if this situation is due to some form of discrimination. Bottom line, based of the facts presented, your employer is well within its rights.

At this point your best bet is to speak with your HR department or or boss. Stay calm and clearly state you side of the story. 


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