Can I be fired for the same thing someone else got a slap on the wrist for earlier?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I be fired for the same thing someone else got a slap on the wrist for earlier?

I rigged an ink pump open and forgot it causing downtime and a mess. I was sent home and called in for investigation. They said I bypassed a safety valve. That same spring valve is open on every other press in the building and I was never told or checked off in training that it was a safety feature. Also, a guy did the same exact thing a few weeks earlier and wasn’t even written up. I never had done anything that requires a write-up or any action against me.

Asked on August 29, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Do the facts of your firing violate the terms of an employment contract or union agreement? Is your disharge the result of some form of legally actionable discrimination (i.e. is based on your race, religion, gender, age (over 40), disability, nationality, etc.)? If so then you have a claim; if not then you don't. The fact is that most work relationships are "at will". This means that a company can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit. 

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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