What to do if I was fired from my bartending job for giving a beer ordered in error to a customer for free?

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What to do if I was fired from my bartending job for giving a beer ordered in error to a customer for free?

I have been employed for over 8 months as a bartender. I worked last night and reported to work this evening for my night shift. I was then informed by the manager that I was fired for giving a beer ordered in error to a customer for free. I was told that this is against the law. I stated that I did not know this and was told that it didn’t matter – no excuse. Is this a case of wrongful termination?

Asked on August 6, 2011 Massachusetts

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

As a matter of fact your employer can discharge you for this. If you are an "at will" employee (and most employees are) your workplace can fire you for this or any reason, even no reason at all. Employers have a great deal of discretion when it comes to setting the terms and conditions of employment. So unless a company policy, a union agreement, or an employment contract prohibited this action, your employer's action was lawful; no laws have been violated.  

Note: Another exception to the above is if there was some form of discrimination at play (although you did not indicate that to be the case). That would be illegal. But based on the facts given there seems to be no actionable discrimination involved in your dismissal.


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