Can not having a college degree be used as an excuse for terminating an employee?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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Can not having a college degree be used as an excuse for terminating an employee?

I have been employed for 3 years as a successful Director. After a recent difference of opinion with a supervisor, I have been told they are considering letting me go because I do not have a college degree. I have a clean employee file. I know this is an excuse to terminate me but is it legal?

Asked on August 20, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

The only important question is whether you have a written employment contract limiting the reasons you could be terminated? If you have such a contract, you cannot be fired in violation of its terms if they do violate your contract, you could sue them for breach of contract. However, without an employment contract, you are an employee at will and as an employee at will, you may be fired at any time, for any reason whatsoever--including lack of a degree or any other reason. In this case, you would have no recourse.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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