Is it legal for an employer to suspend or terminate me for an assault that occurred with another employee while not at work?

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Is it legal for an employer to suspend or terminate me for an assault that occurred with another employee while not at work?

I got into a fist fight with a co-worker while I wasn’t working. Even though I have a police report and a witness who corroborates my story that I was defending myself, my employer is threatening to demote me, or possibly even terminate me? They said it created a hostile work environment. Can my actions outside of work be punished by suspension, demotion, or termination?

Asked on July 10, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In fact your employer can do any of these things. That is unless you have a union/employment contract to the contrary, this action violates your employer's own policies, or this action is a result of some form of discrimination. You should be aware that most employment relationships are governed by the "at will" doctrine. What this means is that basically an employer can increase/decrease salary/hours, promote/demote, and generally impose requirements as it sees fit. This can be done for no reason or any reason, with or without notice.


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