Did my employer have a right to fire me for someone else’s action?

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Did my employer have a right to fire me for someone else’s action?

I used to work at retail chain. About a week ago, a customer I was ringing up had a large amount of items and her total came to $723. She was paying with a check but she did not have her license on her, yet she insisted that she knew her license number. At this point, I had already fed the check through the machine, so I called my store manager up front who told the customer that we had to physically have her driver’s license in our hand. The store manager then told me to put in a random license number to get it off the register. They store alsothen called the district manager who told her to just feed a piece of paper through. When she did that, it approved the check and the woman left with her purchases. The store manager asked me if I remembered the license number the woman said or if I knew who she was. I didn’t but she was still outside so I went out and asked her name, license number, etc. in case the check did not go through. A few hours later, the store manager called central dispatch because she thought the check might have been stolen. She was outside talking to the police officer for almost 2 hours and when she finally came back inside, she said that the police officer was able to get a hold of the man whose name was on the check. He told the police officer that he had closed that checking account 2 months ago, so the check was indeed stolen. My store manager told me the next day that she had already started applying for other jobs because there was sure to be repercussions from the incident since the store was not going to get the merchandise or money back. The woman was arrested and taken to jail. Today, with only 3 hours left in my shift, the store manager called me into the office and fired me because corporate told her to. My drawer from that night was short the $723. Is it right that what the district manager told her to do is what made my drawer short and I’m the one who gets penalized?

Asked on February 10, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Kentucky

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, there probably nothing that you can do about this. Most employment relationships are "at will". This means that a company can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sses fit. This includes who to fire and why. In fact, an employer can discharge a worker for any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice. The only protection you would have is if this action violated the terms of an emloyment contract or union agreement. Also, it must not have constituted any form of legally actionable discrimination (i.e. it must not have been due to your race, religion, disability, age, etc.). Otherwise, I'm afraid that your termination was legal.


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