Can an employer fire you if you claim you are being threatened and harassed?

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Can an employer fire you if you claim you are being threatened and harassed?

I am a full-time employee at a local dollar store. My assistant manager called three different people from the corporate office saying she was feeling threatened and harassed by our current staff members. She requested a meeting with corporate to talk about it, and they refused to do so. They fired her 3 days later, their reason being that,

Asked on January 26, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If the harassment was due to the person's race, color, national origin, age 40 or over, religion, sex, or disability, it is illegal to fire someone for reporting those specifically illegal forms of harassment. The fired employee would have legal claims for both the underlying harassment and the retaliatory firing.
But if the harassment was not due to a protected reason--for example, the current staff members did not like the manager's politics, sense of humor, personality, etc.--then the employer could terminate her. When employees do not get along and it's not due to one of the few reasons described, the employer is free to decide who to terminate and who to keep.


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