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

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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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


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

Answered 6 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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