Can a employee be fired for out-of-town off-the-clock behaviors?

UPDATED: Sep 15, 2011

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Can a employee be fired for out-of-town off-the-clock behaviors?

Out of town for work; there was an argument and one employee spit in a fellow employee’s face.

Asked on September 15, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Iowa


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

An employer can legally mandate just about whatever it wants with respect to employee behavior, and can discharge an employee because certain behavior - no matter when or where it takes place. The fact is that an employer doesn't even need a reason to discharge an employee. This is known as "at will" employment. Basically, this means that an employer can dictate the terms and conditions relating to the workplace. Exceptions would be if there is conflicting company policy on the issue, or if legally actionable discrimination was a factor in the employee's termination, or if there is an employment contract or union agreement prohibiting such action.

Bottom line, your employer's action was perfectly permissible under the law.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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