Can you be fired for falling asleep at work?

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Can you be fired for falling asleep at work?

I am a female, age 20. I was hired at distribution center this past Saturday and was terminated 2 days later for “falling asleep”. I was given an orientation day on Saturday and worked a full shift Sunday. My shift is 5:30 am – 6:00 pm. At the beginning of my workday today (Monday), I started my regular duties and at approximately 8:30 am was instructed to start “computer-based training”. These classes were videos on a computer monitor with a small quiz after each video. These classes took approximately 30 minutes each to complete and I completed 12 today. In the 6 hours it took for me to complete these courses and I was only given a single 30-minute break.

Asked on October 3, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Do you have an employment contract which guarantees your employment, or limits the reasons for which you could be terminated, or the process or procedure for termination? if you do, then that contract is enforceable as per its terms, and if it would have prohibited your termination, you may not be fired.

However, with no contract, you are an employee at will. An employee at will may be fired at any time, for any reason whatsoever--including falling asleep. No matter how unfair it may seem or actually be, an employee at will has essentially no job protections, and may be fired under the circumstances and for the reasons you have written about.


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