What to do if I was recently terminatedby my retail employer for what my store manager says was, “unethical discounts”?

UPDATED: Oct 6, 2011

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What to do if I was recently terminatedby my retail employer for what my store manager says was, “unethical discounts”?

I was sat down by the store manager twice. The 1st situation regarding this was last week where only my store manager sat me in the H.R. office behind closed doors. The day I was terminated was this week where store manager and H.R. were present. Both situations I have recorded. The store manager never gave me specifics on who or what and when I asked him in the 1st sit down he told me no he wouldn’t tell me. I denied everything in the 1st sit down he had with me and on termination day I refused to sign the termination sheet.

Asked on October 6, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Iowa


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The first--and possibly only--question is: did you have an employment contract? If you had a contract guarantying you employment for a certain period (such as a year), or limiting either the reasons you could be fired or the process for firing you, you can enforce that contract. If you were fired in violation of it, you would have a cause of action, and may be able to sue for your job back, for monetary compensation, or both.

Without a contract, you are almost certainly an "employee at will." An employee at will has essentially no job protection: you may be fired at any time, for any reason, by your employer, and it does not matter if you have a "defense," explanations for what happened, refused to sign the termination sheet--the employer can still fire you whenever they want.

If you are an employee at will, then typically the only case where you might have some sort of wrongful termination claim would be if you can show that you were fired due to your race, sex, religion, age over 40, disability, etc., or can show you were fired for using a protected benefit (like FMLA leave) or bringing a protected claim (such as for overtime).

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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