Can my employer fire me while letting the niece of an owner go?

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Can my employer fire me while letting the niece of an owner go?

I was working as a server on a very busy day. I was working with a co-worker, the niece of one of the owners. We were overwhelmed and a customer who was supposedly a friend of the owner wrote a bad review. From what I have heard from the manager who let me go and the now my ex-co-workers, the owner’s niece was not fired. Can they legally fire me alone for something we shared responsibility for?

Asked on June 25, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Maryland

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Unless your discharge violated the terms of a union agreement or employment contract, you were an "at will" worker. This means that you could have been fired for any reason or no reason at all. Basically, your employer was free to set the conditions of our workplace much as it saw fit, absent some form of legally actionable discrimination (i.e. that based on a worker's race, religion, age, disability, etc.). And allowing the owner's niece to stay did not qualify as such discrimination.


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