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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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Today I was singled out and told from my supervisors

Customer Question

Today I was singled out and told from my supervisors ,supervisor that I was gossiping about my supervisor and another staff member on a different shift and there would be a investigation through personnel. For several months there have been gossip about several different staff members and the supervisor. I have been present during the conversations and they have been numerous staff members present and engaging in the conversations. I really don't care or have concerns about my peers personal lives. Yet I have been singled out. What steps should I take to protect my job and my reputation ?
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 2 months ago.

Hi Julie,

Thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do everything I can to answer your question.

Situations like these are difficult because of the general presumption in Kansas that employment is "at will." At will employment can be terminated for any reason not amounting to discrimination on the basis of a legally protected trait (race, religion, gender, etc.) or retaliation for engaging in certain forms of legally protected conduct (filing a wage claim, taking FMLA leave, etc.). It doesn't matter whether the basis for termination is fair, reasonable or even true.

So, there is nothing illegal about disciplining you or even terminating you for the reasons you describe, even if those reasons are completely unfair because other employees are doing the same thing, and even if the reasons are completely untrue. The law does not require employers to make good decisions with respect to discipline and termination. Just as you can quit without a good reason, your employer can terminate the employment relationship with equal freedom.

Now, all of the above noted, it is expensive to re-hire and re-train new employees, and if you were to be fired, you could generally file for unemployment which would affect your employer's unemployment insurance premium. This is to say that employers generally do not want to terminate employees any more than employees want to be fired, and so employers tend to be rationale about these sorts of decisions.

For these reasons, the best course of action in the circumstance you describe is to present to your employer a written explanation for your action and, if necessary, an apology for the misunderstanding. I realize that from your perspective, you may see no need to apologize or even explain further than you have because other employees are engaging in similar behavior, but I can tell you as an attorney who frequently advises employers in this circumstance that such a letter would be looked upon favorably and would be the best possible action you could take to preserve your employment, ordinarily speaking.

I hope that you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes moving forward.

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