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Anne_C
Anne_C, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 2302
Experience:  Business litigator, 15 years' experience
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A friend was recently fired for saying the boss owns a blue ...

Resolved Question:

A friend was recently fired for saying the boss owns a blue Corvette. They fired her for gossip. Is this legal??
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Anne_C replied 6 years ago.

DearCustomer

  1. What state is your friend in?
  2. Is she in a union?
  3. Does she have an employment contract?
  4. Did her employment manual state that she was an "at will" employee, or did it say she could only be fired for a good reason?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Anne
She is in California...not with any Union. No employee contract and doen't recall if her employee manual describes her as being "at will".
She does remember that when being hired they said they would not tolerate "carrying any tales" (gossip). Three years later a co-worker mentioned to her she saw the boss driving a blue Corvette. The fired employee mentioned this to her husband in the course of a conversation at home. The husband mentioned the Corvette at some type of meeting.
She was reprimanded verbally by her boss...the owners wife...then a few weeks later called to the owners office and fired for this mention of the car. She was also told at that time if she were to bring mailce upon them their would be repercussions.
Expert:  Anne_C replied 6 years ago.

DearCustomer

California is an "at will" employment state. That means that any employee can be terminated at any time for any reason that is not against the law, discriminatory, or retaliatory.

A reason that is against the law would be, for example, terminating an employee for refusal to illegally dispose of hazardous waste.

A discriminatory reason would be one based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or age; participation in schools or places of worship associated with a particular racial, ethnic, or religious group.

A retaliatory reason would be taking an adverse employment action because someone filed a complaint of discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or age; participation in schools or places of worship associated with a particular racial, ethnic, or religious group.

If you would like more information about this, it is available at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's website, www.eeoc.gov.

That means that an employer can implement policies such as a "no gossip" policy, employer can terminate an employee who fails to follow that policy.

I am sorry that I don't have better news for your friend about this - especially since talking about the type of car that someone's spouse drives seems very innocuous.

Anne_C, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 2302
Experience: Business litigator, 15 years' experience
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