How do I know if my termination was legal?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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How do I know if my termination was legal?

I’m very much aware that this is an at will state and I can be fired at any time for any reason. However, I worked at a store where the policy was whoever is closing that night decides whether or not the people that are working earlier shifts can leave. When I switched stores I assumed it was the same policy, it was the same store about a town away. However, today I was called in and fired, with no warning, for leaving early from shifts where I was told by the person closing the shift, that we weren’t busy and I could go. I tried to explain that to my manager and she told me that the person didn’t have the authority to tell me that, which is very confusing to me since it was usually him approaching me and saying I could leave early if I wanted since we weren’t busy. Also, he and many others have left early without anyone making a fuss either. Again, I’m aware I probably don’t have a case but I just wanted to make sure. Can they change the policy like that for one person? Additionally, the general manager at my old store didn’t like me, which was why I transferred stores, and she was recently promoted to corporate. When I was fired, my manager said,

Asked on November 21, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Indiana


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Unless your treatment was due to some form of legally actionable discrimination (i.e. based on your race, religion, disability, age, etc.), then your termination appears to have been lawful. Also, your discharge must not have violated any union agreement or employment contract that may have been in effect at the time. The fact is that in an "at will" work relationship, a company can set the terms of employment much as it sees fit.

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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