Can my boss really fire me for putting my fiancee on my insurance?

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Can my boss really fire me for putting my fiancee on my insurance?

My friend put her fiancee on her insurance as a spouse. They knew she wasn’t married to him but didn’t tell her that he wasn’t eligible. They fired her for it 3 years later. Shouldn’t they have told her that wasn’t allowed when she added him instead of waiting this long?

Asked on August 3, 2011 Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unless your friend had an employment contract setting forth either the grounds or process for termination or discipline, she was an "employee at will" and could be fired at any time, for any reason. So while it's unusual that they waited, they could fire her now, or later, just as they could have fired her on the spot.

Moreover, not only could an employee at will be fired for any reason, but what your friend did provides ample reason. She committed insurance fraud, since a non-spouse can't be covered and she lied on the insurance application to list her fiance as a spouse; she also essentially stole from the company, since she made the company pay for something benefiting her and her fiance which it did not have to pay for. Since she could have faced criminal charges for insurance fraud, and also could be sued by the company to recover all premiums paid by it (if any) on behalf of her fiance, she may have gotten off easy by "just" being fired, as awful as it undoubtedly is to lose a job--she could have suffered significantly more liability.


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