Do I have any legal options regarding a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment?

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Do I have any legal options regarding a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment?

I was just fired by a national retail chain for sexual harassment. This stems from an e-mail that I sent out just before Christmas that was only meant to give people a good laugh before the holidays. I didn’t intend it to be harassment. Even though they claim a zero tolerance policy for this, they showed us a training video 2 months ago. In it they showed that a person who committed the sexual harassment was not fired. I’ve never had a complaint like this filed against me. Since the video conflicts with the company’s so called “zero tolerance policy”, do I have any legal options?

Asked on January 5, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you probably have no legal options here. This is not a case of wrongful termination.  The reason is that most employment relationships are what is known as "at will; accordingly you can choose to work for an employer or not and an employer can hire or fire you for any reason, no reason, or even a bad reason.  While seemingly unfair it's the law. The exceptions to this would be if this action was not allowed by virtue of an employment contract, union agreement, or company policy.  Also, discrimination must not have played a role in your termination.  Absent any of these circumstance your firing was legal.


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