How should I respond to an improper reprimand from employer?

UPDATED: Mar 30, 2012

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How should I respond to an improper reprimand from employer?

My employer sent me in an email a written reprimand. It did not include dates and specific details. I am accused of here say as the employer was not around nor is around daily to accuse me of such. We are a non profit organization so it is small and close. I did not receive oral conversation but I a do have a meeting with the executive director Monday. Should there be a witness present and shouldn’t I have dates and specifics before going to this meeting?

Asked on March 30, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It is not a bad idea to have a witness around, BUT the employer does not need to allow you to have one--not unless there is some contract or union agreement in place which guarantees you this right.

Bear in mind, if you don't have an employment contract, you are an employee at will and may be fired at any time for any reason--even unfair reasons, or reasons based on hearsay. The simple fact is, the "due process" protections which you would receive in court do not apply to the workplace  unless there is a contract providing for them. So in a sense, no reprimand is "improper" if you are an employee at will--if the employer chooses to reprimand you, it can, regardless of the facts.

So you need to remember that you essentially have no rights--if you anger your employer, you can be terminated. Decide how you want to approach this meeting in light of that fact.

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