Can one of my bosses get me in trouble up to firing me for talking off the clock?

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Can one of my bosses get me in trouble up to firing me for talking off the clock?

So I was shopping at my store saw a friend who works there with me. I started to chat him up while he was still working. We would talk both about work and non-work related things. I was wondering since I am paid hourly and was not to work that day at all if my boss would be allowed to take any action against me or my friend as he was helping out me, as a customer.

Asked on February 15, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Most employment relationships are "at will". This means that a company can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit. Accordingly, an employee can be disciplined (up to termination) for talking to a co-worker who is on duty even if they themselves are off of the clock. Basically, absent actionable discrimination or the violation of an employment contract or union agreement, an employer can take disciplinary action against a worker for any reason or no reason at all.


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