Do I have a case for wrongful termination if I don’t agree with the reason for firing me?

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Do I have a case for wrongful termination if I don’t agree with the reason for firing me?

I’ve been at my company for 18yrs. I had an incident about a year ago where the operations manager sold items that were thrown out trashed because the company no longer represented those branded items. However, he also sold a wooden barrel that he was given a month or so prior. It was essentially his but because the brand on the barrel was a brand our company still represented, he was fired for it. My involvement in this situation was merely letting the operations manager know that the items were trash. However, I warned him about selling items that the company still represented. He told me that the barrel was his since it was given to him. I didn’t argue. After all, he is my boss’s boss. So after all this, the company decided to fire the operations manger. They gave me a 5 day suspension because I received money from the operations manager for the items he sold. I didn’t remove any items from the building. My only involvement was receiving money for which I was suspended 5 days for. Now, just this past Friday, I was fired for taking an empty pallet form work. In the write-up, it stated that this was a similar incident as the above. I disagree because as stated above, I only received money. I never removed anything from the premises before. It also stated that I did this during off hours. While that is true, I never received any communication from anyone stating I couldn’t be on the property during off hours. The only time I felt that permission was needed, was if I wanted to work more time. I feel that they tried to relate the two instances, but they aren’t alike. I feel this wasn’t fair, especially considering this was over an empty pallet.

Asked on December 5, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Did you have protection against your dismissal under the terms of an employment contract or union agreement? Was this action based on some form of legally actionable discrimination? If not, then it was legal. The fact is that as an "at will" worker, your employer could fire you for the reason that it gave you, or for any reson or no reason at all, with or without notice. Accordingly, your treatment was perectly permissable under the law.


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