Can you be fired from a job because you were cc’d on an email from an irate coworker?

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Can you be fired from a job because you were cc’d on an email from an irate coworker?

Coworker had sent multiple emails out to several different people complaining about others. My assumption is that this person was irate and angry. My husband was cc’d on several emails from this person. This person was a friend. My husband admitted that he replied to one email with a response of only ‘ha-ha’. Another response from my husband was a youtube video of this ‘ikea monkey’ from the news years ago. I guess this coworker made up the name ‘Monkey’ for another person because she had a jacket similar to the ikea monkey in the news. HR management brought my husband into room and asked him about these 2 emails. my husband was truthful saying he did not participate in other coworkers tantrums other than what they see, that he knew this guy was toxic but that he did not make up any names for others. He was walked out the door within 10 minutes. I’d like to know if this is worth pursing in a legal matter. Although I do not agree with responding at all, I’m completely shocked that he would be fired for what he did. He was told from HR ‘they could not fire one person’ To me, that means my husband was collateral damage. Is this right? Is this worth seeking legal help?

Asked on August 3, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Connecticut

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Did your husband's termination violate the terms of an employment contract or union/collective bargaining agreement? Did his treatment constitute some form of legally actionable discrimination? If not, then he was an "at will" worker. This means that his company could discharge him for any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice.


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