Can an employer fire you based on hearsay from another employee? - Employment Law Questions and Answers- LawQA.com

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Can an employer fire you based on hearsay from another employee?

My mom recently began serving at a restaurant has recently opened. The serving team is having trouble with one girl taking all the tables. Instead of arguing about it, my mom suggest that they speak with the manager the next morning. Before my mom's shift started they called her and told her they will no longer need her services anymore. Upon asking why? They replied that a particular server (table bandit) had reported my mom sending her threatening text messages throughout the night. No text messages were provided for proof because it didn't happen. I would like to know if the firing of my mom is legal?

Answer By Scott Behren
Behren Law Firm
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Unless the firing was based upon her race, age, sex, etc. probably not much she can do about it.

Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 9/24/2012

Answer By Dennis P. Mikko

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It sounds like your mom was an at-will employee. As such, she can be fired for any reason or no reason at all just not an illegal reason. There does not appear to an illegal reason behind her termination.

Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 9/24/2012

Answer By Mark D. Keyl

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Yes, MS is an employee at will state and you can be fired for any reason that is not discriminatory.

Answer Applies to: Mississippi
Replied: 9/24/2012

Answer By Steven Miller

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Unfortunately many companies are nasty and unfair, but at the same time you were more than likely were an "at will" employee meaning you could be let go at any time without any reason (obviously they could not fire you for reasons such as your religious beliefs, your age, color of your skin, things like that. There are a lot of "immoral" things the employer can get away with. If you really feel you were wronged, you have to sometimes get a little creative, and if this means fighting fire with fire, so be it. At times like this you may wish to consider the famous story of Al Capone. He was a gangster in the 1920s, where the government was angry with him because they knew he did stuff wrong (e.g. murder, robbery) but could not get evidence to put him away to prison ON THOSE LEGAL THEORIES. What the government did was find a "DIFFERENT THEORY" and they got the result they wanted, they got justice, as they put him away for tax evasion. Now how does this story relate to you? If you can't get them for "wrongful termination", you need to look at other aspects of your job, for an opportunity to seek legal justice not on the theory that is dear to your heart, but on other issues of possible illegal misconduct: 1. Did they provide you with breaks? 2. Did they pay you properly, including any overtime? 3. Did they make you incur any expenses for work that you were not reimbursed for (e.g. uniform, special shoes, cell phone, gas, etc). 4. Did they pay you your pay check using an out of state check causing you to go to a check cashing place or incurring a fee in order to get your money? If any of these kind of things occurred you might be able to get justice against the company. Call me if you wish to discuss this. Do you have copies of your pay stub(s), check(s)? Do you have at home a copy of the employee manual?

Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/24/2012

Answer By Edward M Olson

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Yes, it is legal. If there is no employment contract, it is also not a breach of any contract.

Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 9/24/2012

Answer By Kevin Parks

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Employers can generally terminate an employee for any reason, or no reason whatsoever, so long as the reason isn't an illegal one. While your mother certainly seems to have suffered the worst of this situation, it doesn't immediately appear that she would have a viable claim against her former employer. There may well be other facts that would tend to support the opposite conclusion, but she'd need to schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss the facts and thoroughly analyze the entire situation to know for sure. You mother may well have colorable civil claims that could be brought against the "table bandit," as you put it, but the likelihood of those claims ultimately being worth the time and expense to pursue is an important question that is difficult to answer without more information.

Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 9/24/2012

Answer By Bruce Coane
Coane and Associates
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Yes, generally an employer can fire a worker for any reason or no reason at all. There are some exceptions like unlawful discrimination, etc. Feel free to call the office if she'd like to come in to discuss the situation and to see if any exceptions apply.

Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 9/24/2012


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It is legal unless your mom is represented by a union or has a contract for her employment. Even so, it may be worth her effort to send a nice business-like letter asking for a personal meeting to which she will bring her phone as proof that the accusation is false.

Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/24/2012

Law Offices of Charles R. Perry
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Management can discharge an employee for any reason at all, so long as that the reason does not constitute illegal discrimination or retaliatory conduct. I see nothing here to suggest that the company did anything that would give your mother a claim against the company, even if they did not conduct an investigation into the complaint of the other employee.

Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/24/2012

Answer By Matthew W. Birk

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Yes. In the absence of a written employment agreement, you can be fired for any reason or no reason as long as you are not fired for an illegal reason (race, sex, military service, etc.).

Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 9/24/2012

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