Can I sue my employer for terminating me but not letting me know that I was fired?

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Can I sue my employer for terminating me but not letting me know that I was fired?

I’ve been working at my job for the last 4 months; a week ago I went into the store to check my schedule for the week and my name wasn’t on the schedule at all. I went to the office and asked the store manager if I was fired and he said no and said that if I can’t work the weekends then they won’t put me on the schedule for that week. I had requested off days for the summer but that week I only needed Saturday off. I told my manager that I can work on Sunday and he said he would fix it and put me back on the schedule. He never did. Today the new schedule was put up and I’m not on it again.

Asked on June 15, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, you may not sue an employer for not scheduling you but not officially telling you that you are fired, unless you had an employment contract which guaranteed you hours or shifts, or required some official notice of termination. In the absence of such a contact, you are an employee at will, and an employer may terminate you, or may reduce/eliminate/etc. your hours or shifts, at any time, for any reason, without notice. Therefore, since the employer is not obligated to provide notice, there is no cause of action if the employer does not.

You may be able to claim unemployment benefits, however, if you have been "constructively"--or effectively--terminated even without official notice of termination. You should go to your state's Department of Labor website and look up the unemployment eligibility rules.


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