Can I be fired for having sex at work?

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Can I be fired for having sex at work?

I had sex at work with a coworker. It was completely consensual and no sexual harassment involved. We were not caught in the act and there is no physical proof at all. I came clean to my boss on my own and it was then that he fired me over the phone. Prior to that my boss had no knowledge of the situation. This was a first time and I know what I did was wrong. Was it okay for him to fire me and can I collect unemployment?

Asked on September 23, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Why would you think that admitting to having sex at work would not be grounds for termination? A business has a legitimate interest in seeing that its employees conduct themselves in an appropariate and professional manner. In fact, most employment is "at will", which means that a company can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit. Accordingly, a worker can be dismissed for the behavior that you describe, or for any reason or for no reason at all, with or without notice. Therefore, unless you had protection under the terms of a union agreement/employment contract or your discharge constitued some form of legally actionable discrimination (which it did not), your dismissal was perfectly permissable under the law.


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