Can I be fired from my job for something my brother did?

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Can I be fired from my job for something my brother did?

I work at a health club that my family are paid members of. My brother also used to work there but he was recently fired. Consequently, he posted an inappropriate status on Facebook involving the general manager of the club. We received a message from the general manager today saying that my family are not welcome members anymore. Being as I am part of the family, I would assume I am no longer a welcome employee. Before I contact him personally, is he allowed to fire me for something that my brother did that I had absolutely no part of?

Asked on April 30, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, yes--your employer could terminate you for something your brother did. Unless you had an employment contract, you are an employee at will; an employee at will may be fired at any time, for any reason not specifically against the law. Only a few reasons for termination are illegal--for example, no termination to discriminate against certain specifically protected categories (e.g. race, religion, age over 40, sex, disability); no termination to retailate for bringing a protected claim (such as for overtime or that you were discriminated against) or for reporting a legal violation; no termination to retalitate for using a protected benefit, like FMLA leave. However, there is no protection in the law for being fired due to a family member's actions; therefore, unless you have an employment contract guarantying or protecting your job, you could be terminated for what your brother did.


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