Can 2 employees be fired for having a relationship?

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Can 2 employees be fired for having a relationship?

We’ve already been together without problem there for the last 1 1/2 years and neither of us is in a management position. The new administrator fired her without giving any warning after learning about us the day prior, while off-hours. Neither the previous administrator, nor this current administrator, had a non-fraternization policy (written or otherwise) in place, never mind training or even a handbook on the matter. Was she in her rights to let us go?

Asked on March 3, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

Michael Freilich / Freilich Law

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

1. Did you sign an employment agreement? If the employment agreement itself is silent about this type of behavior, is there an employee manual which describes what behaviors are okay and those which are not? Is there a union? If there is a union and its your girlfriend is a member of the union she may have certain rights are derivative of the union contract with the employer. The general rule is in Maryland that absent a contractual reason or grounds to the contrary, employment is "at will." In "at will" employment relationship an employee can be terminated at any time without cause. So, a search needs to be done to find out what, if anything, may take this out of the "at will" general rule. Depending upon the size of your employer, and certain other factors, there may be other grounds which the employee has to either challenge the termination, or to file suit. Obviously, more facts are needed, and this is genuinely a very fact intensive type of situation so that what it vests expressed here is some generalities which may guide you somewhat. This is not legal advice upon which you can rely, just a very rough first look. The response to this does not create an attorney-client relationship


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