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Unfair Termination

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I need some advice for my wife regarding her recent termination from her job.
Recently, she was working out of town and her boss gave a dinner where alcoholic beverages were served. My wife ordered one but did not like the drink and gave it to another employee next to her. The next day, her boss called her in and told her that the individual was a minor and she was suspended from her job and a few days later she was terminated. At no time during this dinner, she was informed that there was minors in attendance. The drink and the party was paid for by the company and organized by her boss. My question here is since my wife was terminated for this infraction should not the host also receive the same consideration? She did not warn her employees that a minor was in the dinner. Since she organized this dinner, should she also not know her employees or guests? My wife feels this treatment was unwarranted and feels that this may have been a set-up to get rid of her. Prior to this incident, she did not receive a very good audit of her work from her boss. The interesting issue here is when their corporate office (not her boss) conducted the same audit on my wife's work, she was scored one of the best in her district.

My wife is very upset since this has never happened to her career. This termination is a very bad mark on her record and she would like the following:

1) To clear her record of this unfair termination.
2) If she remains terminated she feels her boss should be treated equally the same way.

Do you have any legal advice on this?

[email protected]



Well, I don't think that I can offer you any hope. Assuming that your wife was terminated for providing an alcoholic drink to a minor. That is a lawful termination even though your wife was unaware that the recipient was a minor. There is no requirement that your wife have known the recipient was a minor. In criminal law you could call this a mens rea or guilty mind or criminal intent.

You see, most states have an at-will employment policy or law. That means that an employer can terminate an employee at any time, with or without a reason. The only exceptions are that the termination must not be for a protected category such as age, race, religion, etc., or for other things such as whistleblowing. Therefore, her employer didn't have to have a reason to terminate her.

Regarding the performance evaluations, that really is of no consequence in light of the at-will policy.

Should her boss also be treated the same way as she was? That is not required by the employer. The employer can choose to retain and terminate whomever it desires with the exceptions referred to above. Therefore, it may not be fair to you or your wife that the boss is still employed, yet in the eyes of the law, that selective discipline and termination was lawful.

Your wife has no "right" to have her termination record changed by the former employer. Sorry!

Mark B. Replogle

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