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Ask Law Educator, Esq. Your Own Question
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 113507
Experience:  20+ Years of Employment Law Experience
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An officer of our firm gave notice. Corp sent an email

Customer Question

An officer of our firm gave notice. Corp sent an email announcing she was leaving. No reason was given. I was accused of gossiping when I asked a coworker if she had another job opportunity or did she get fired? someone over heard me talking and repeated the conversation to her. She fired off a company email to the entire firm telling them that I was a gossip and no wonder she was an executive and I was only an associate, she said I was a gossip and jealous of her success. Now I am worried that when I got into work my boss will fire me because I did ask the coworker if she was fired. Can they fire me for gossiping? It was not gossip in my opinion, I only asked the obvious.
JA: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: missouri
JA: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?
Customer: at will, full time
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: just that she is an officer, assistant vice president. I am a manager. so in my eyes she's bullying me by sending out the email
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 5 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
If the employer has actual rules against gossip or rumors, then you could be held accountable and could be terminated for good cause. However, if there is no such rule, as an at will employee (absent some contract in writing to the contrary) you could be fired for no reason at all or any reason that is not based only on your age/race/sex/disability/national origin and as an at will employee you have no recourse if they did terminate you. However, you asking someone why someone is leaving is not really gossip it is a question and it would not be good cause to terminate anyone over that (even though they could terminate you for no reason as an at will employee).
As far as bullying, legally, there is no such thing in the workplace unless it is done based only on the age/race/sex/disability/national origin. So legally, her seeking to stop rumors even calling you a gossip or jealous is not unlawful under the at will employment laws.