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Fired in 2022 for 2005 magazines found in a rusted locker

Discussion in 'Human Resources' started by Rebecca10, Jul 29, 2022.

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  1. Rebecca10

    Rebecca10 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hello,

    My husband was just let go from 30 year employment because they found magazines from 2005 (they were Mail so they had his name in it) in an old locker area that has not been used in years. They said that he broke policy that stated that reading material could not br brought into the plant. Can they even do that? He has never been written up for insubordination or anything. And in 2005 he was in a very different position than he was just in. Weare going to see council but I thought I would just ask here. This seems such a minor thing for such a heavy penalty.
     
  2. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    Yes, it is legal for the employer to do it unless he is a member of a union with a collective bargaining agreement that provides otherwise. When the employer is not a government agency, then the employer may legally fire you for any reason (or no reason at all) except for a few reasons prohibited by law. The prohibited reasons include firing you because:
    • of your race, color, religion, sex (including sexual orientation, gender identity, etc) national origin, citizenship, age, disability, or genetic test information under federal law (some states/localities add a few more categories like marital status, veteran status, etc);
    • you make certain kinds of reports about the employer to the government or in limited circumstances to specified persons in the employing company itself (known as whistle-blower protection laws);
    • you participate in union organizing activities;
    • you use a right or benefit the law guarantees you (e.g. using leave under FMLA);
    • you filed a bankruptcy petition;
    • your pay was garnished by a single creditor; and
    • you took time off work to attend jury duty (in most states).
    The exact list of prohibited reasons will vary by state. This situation is not one in which any state prohibits termination. It may be ridiculous and petty to fire him over that, but not illegal.
     
  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Have your husband apply for unemployment compensation ASAP.
     
  4. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Outstandingly appropriate goal.

    Please don't fail to eventually retain the best employment law attorney you can find.

    Let us know what you learn.

    I'm pulling for your family.
     
  5. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    "They" (his former employer, I assume) did do it, so it should be obvious that "they" can do it.

    Agree, but that's beside the point. The majority of employment in the United States is "at will." That means the employee may legally quit at any time and for any reason, and the employer may legally fire the employee at any time for any reason that is not expressly illegal. Firing an employee for breaking a rule is always legal. The primary exceptions to "at will" employment are (1) an employee with a written contract with his/her employers; (2) an employee who is a member of a labor union that has a collective bargaining agreement with the employee's employer; and (3) a civil service employee. Does any of these apply to your husband?
     
  6. commentator

    commentator Member

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    Do not give any money to an attorney if they will not take things on a contingency. There is likely no case here, as it appears from the sound of it that no laws have been broken. He has been fired, at will. Regardless of what else he does, he needs to file for unemployment insurance. That does not require an attorney. Perhaps if they were trying to get rid of him, based, say on age discrimination, there'd be a slight chance something could be brought up...

    Some jobs have these little rules, like no personal use of company email, no inappropriate searches done on business screens. And as I always told co workers, if they never get mad at you, they will never check your usages. If they are mad at you and want to fire you, this is an easy pop fly reason to fire you legally, and they'll use it. It sounds as though your husband gave the company an easy peasy violation of policy with proof, with his name on it, and yes, whether it's a big thing or a little thing, it is a violation of company policy, and there is no law that says they cannot legally fire you for violation of company policy.
     
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  7. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Legally, absent a CBA or employment contract, an employer is free to terminate your services without explanation, ryhme, or reason.

    On the other hand, an employee isn't an indentured servant or slave.

    The employee is free to terminate her/his employment without explanation, notice, or warning. The employee just received a $2,000,000 inheritance from Aunt Bertha can quit immediately upon learning of the windfall.
     
    hrforme likes this.
  8. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    I disagree with this as a general premise. There is a lot that lawyers do that they can't or won't take on a contingency fee basis. For example, if you came to me for tax planning advice, I'd charge you by the hour for it as there is no award from which I could take a portion as my fee. Moreover, the rules that govern practice before the IRS limits the litigation matters that I could take on a contingent fee. In my state lawyers cannot do divorce cases on contingent fees either. There are other examples I could give you, but I think you get the idea. You'll most often find lawyers willing to do contingency fee work on tort claims, the bulk of which are negligence claims, and breach of contract claims. Those are the types of work that most readily lend themselves to contingency fee work.

    And even if a lawyer is willing to take a contingency fee, that is not always the best choice for the client.

    A wrongful termination case would be one type of tort claim that is often done on a contingency basis. The problem is he'll have a problem finding a lawyer to take this because given the information you've provided so far, the termination does not seem to be wrongful.
     
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