Can I be fired for something that happened out of the office on my time?

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Can I be fired for something that happened out of the office on my time?

I was terminated based on a “no call/no show”. I was scheduled to be out of the office for a class. I ended up with a migraine and did not attend class that day. My boss had called to see if I was there and he found that I was not. He then contacted me stating that I needed to come into the office. I informed him that I was unable to do so due to a migraine in which he stated to pack my desk. Is this considered wrongful termination since I was scheduled to be out of the office that day? The class that I was to attend was a 2-day cram course for real estate. I had already completed the course the company paid for and took this course as well which was for me to pay. Doesn’t it put this on my time at this point?

Asked on September 19, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Alabama

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that in an "at will" employment situation an employer can terminate an an employee for any reason or no reason at all. So whether or not you were on your "own time" is irrelevant. Absent certain circumstances (listed below) an employer has a great deal of discretion in deciding the terms and conditions of the workplace. And who, when, and what for to discharge an employee is among of them.

Absent company policy to the contrary, or if the dismissal violates a provision of an employment contract or union agreement, or if the discharge was the result of actionable termination, your employer did not violate the law. From a legal standpoint, it was perfectly permissible.


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