Ok. Here is the issue. Without a contract of employment stating that you can only be terminated for cause, you are an "at will
" employee in your state. That means that you can legally be terminate at any time, with or without cause.
So, legally she is right. She could have terminated you. Not really because what happened was anything so terrible on your part. In fact, it was a completely understandable mistake. But in an "at will" employment situation, you don't have to have done something terrible to be subject to termination
. The employer doesn't need a cause, so the veracity of the cause doesn't legally matter, except in two situations.
First, it matters if the employee is alleging discrimination based on one of those factors that I mentioned. When an employer terminates someone for a very poor reason, and there is suspicion of discrimination, that poor reasoning for termination looks like a pretext for illegal discrimination. So, in that narrow situation, the basis for the termination could become relevant.
Second, if the employer actually terminates an employee and then tries to block that employee's unemployment
rights by claiming misconduct, unemployment will do their own investigation/hearing to determine the validity of the alleged misconduct. The employer has the burden of proving misconduct to block unemployment. If the employer fails to meet that burden, the employee gets unemployment (but this has no bearing on the legality of the termination itself).
On these facts, while I completely agree that this was an overreaction and an understandable error on your part, the employer is correct that they could use it as a basis for termination.
Now, in Michigan, you have the right to review your personnel file and to insert a rebuttal into that file if you disagree with anything placed in it. So, that is one right that you have. While you can't force a removal of this statement in your personnel file, they have to allow you to submit your own statement in rebuttal, which must also be kept in that record. Your rebuttal can be no longer than 5 pages.