If the route to leave work is blocked, can they fire you for staying “on the clock”?

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If the route to leave work is blocked, can they fire you for staying “on the clock”?

I work for a railroad and our shop is between 2 rail tracks. If trains block both exit paths and I stay on the clock past working hours can they fire me for “stealing time”?

Asked on February 17, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, North Dakota

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Actually, you could have been fired for this reason, any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice. This is called "at will" employment. So unless your termination in some way violated company policy or the terms of an employment contract or union agreement it was legal. Also, your treatment must not have constituted some form of actionable discrimination.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

They can fire you for any reason, if you do not have an employment contract limiting the reasons for which you could be fired; in the absence of an employment contract, you are an employee at will, which means what it sounds like--your employmen is at the will of your employer, which may terminate you at any time, for any reason whatsoever.


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