If other employees did the same thing as me but were not fired, is that wrongful termination?

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If other employees did the same thing as me but were not fired, is that wrongful termination?

I was fired for a petty reason. The maintenance supervisor, a man who had personal issues with me, went through the garbage to dig up some unopened milk cartons I had disposed of. The milk cartons belonged to my patients but for reasons that I explained to the administrator, I threw away. I knew I would not have time to give the milk to them. About a month after I was fired, a nurse found a bag of milk cartons that belonged to some of the morning shift nurses. She reported this yet the nurses never even got a warning, so why was I fired?

Asked on March 8, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There is no obligation for employers to be fair; to treat all employees equally; to not take a personal dislike to an employee; or to not fire an employee for petty reasons. Employers are allowed to do this to "at will" employees. That means that if you don't have an employment contract limiting the grounds or procedures for termination, you can be fired at any time, for any reason, even unfair or stupid ones.

The only thing the employer can't do is discriminate on the basis of a protected category, such as age over 40, race, religion, sex, or disability. If you think you were fired for one of those reasons, you may have a discrimination case and you should speak with an employment attorney to explore it.


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