Is it wrongful termination if my employer fired me for an activity outside of my work schedule?

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Is it wrongful termination if my employer fired me for an activity outside of my work schedule?

I attended a baby shower while sick outside of my work hours. The next day I was told via text message that I was being fired not for showing up to work but because I attended a pregnant friend’s baby shower while sick. For that reason he does not trust me and so I can no longer work for him.

Asked on February 9, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that most work arrangements are what is known as "at will". This means that an employee can be fired for the reason you cite, any reason or no reason at all (with or without notice). This is true unless this action violates the terms of an employment contract or union agreement or runs contrary to company policy. Also, such treatment must not constitute some form of actionable discrimination. Otherwise, an employer can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit. Additionally, providing sick days is a discretionary benefit; this means that an employer need not provide such time. To the extent that it does, an employer has a great deal of discretion just when and how it is used.


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