What are my rights if I was fired for a policy I have never seen andco-workers have not been terminated for the same behavior?

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What are my rights if I was fired for a policy I have never seen andco-workers have not been terminated for the same behavior?

I was terminated from my position as a co-manager at a large bank. They terminated me because on my day off I had to go to the branch to get information for a conference call. Since it was my day off and before business hours, I took my kids with me. They said that I violated company policy and terminated me for the violation. I had never received any write-ups or warnings throughout my employment with them. In addition, 3 months ago my operations specialist asked me to come in on my day off to open the branch because the other employee did not have an alarm code or vault combo. I told her that I would have my kids with me and she stated that was fine. My district manager has also had her son in the office before, as well as other managers, and they were not disciplined or terminated. Can I be fired for a policy that I didn’t know existed? Also, I believe that my district manager targeted me because I was not part of the clique. This same DM has fired 7 managers in her district within the last 5 months. There are only 16 branches so that is half of the managers. All of us who have been fired were not part of her clique. There were numerous times in the last few months that she reprimanded me because I did not socialize with the other managers outside of work. The managers and DM would frequently go out late after work to drink. I had already explained to her that I am a working mother and attending school full-time and I was not able to go out and party. Is it legal for her to fire me for something she does as well? Is there any legal action that I can take? I did call the regional manager to ask for my job back and she was not aware I had been fired. I gave her the circumstances and she told me the termination stands. She did not seem to care that the DM and many other managers had broken the same policy they said I broke.

Asked on April 4, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Nevada

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, most employment arrangements are what is known as "at will".  This means that an employer can fire an employee for any reason or no reason at all, and without explanation or notice.  Exceptions to this would be if you have a union or employment contract to the contrary or if discrimination played a role here.  However, workplace discrimination does not mean all discrimination.  Employment discrimination as a general rule occurs when an employee is treated differently because of their race, color, religion, national origin, disability, gender, sexual orientation or age by an employer in either hiring, discipline, performance of job duties or termination.  To prove unlawful discrimination, employees must be able to show that an action affecting employment was based on the fact that the employee belongs to a protected class rather than a legitimate business decision (even if that business reason also involves favoritism). 


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