Is it legal for an employer to discipline and retaliate against me for a private text message I sent to a co-worker outside of work hours?

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Is it legal for an employer to discipline and retaliate against me for a private text message I sent to a co-worker outside of work hours?

I sent a text message from my personal cell phone to a co-worker and the co-worker shared my text

with our supervisor and my text message was then printed off and shared with the business owner who then disciplined and retaliated against me when I returned to work. They also placed the printed off text message in my personnel file at work.

Asked on January 29, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Iowa

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Did your treatment violate any appliable union agreement/employment contract? Did it constitute some form of legally actionable discrimination/retaliation (note: illegal retaliation has to do with discrimination, pursuing a wage claim, etc., not the case here)? If not, then your company's action was perfectly permissable. The fact is that in an "at will" employment relationship, a company can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit. Further, a worker can be teminated, suspended or otherwise disciplined for any reason or no reason at all. Accordingly, your employer's action was legal.


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