Can they legally fire me for this?

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Can they legally fire me for this?

My mother was fired today after being told they have her on video keying a co-worker’s car. She denies doing this and was actually friends with the co-worker. They would not show her or the co-worker the video and instead fired her after many years of employment there and no write-ups.

Asked on February 3, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Absent a union/collective bargaining agreement or employment contract to the contrary, your mother has no claim here; her employer's actions were legal. A company can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit, so long as legally actionable discrimination is not a factor in employees' treatment. This includes who to fire and why. The fact is that a worker can be terminated for any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice. This is know as "at will" employment.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The only real issue is whether she has a written employment contract or not. If she has a written contract, she cannot be fired in any way which violates the terms of the contract. If she does not have a contract, however, she is an employee at will and may be terminated at any time, for any reason, including unproven allegations of vandalism, and without regard to her years of service or employment history. Employees at will have no rights to their jobs; they can lose them at any time.


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