I am sorry to hear what has happened to your husband, but the reason I asked about a written contract or union contract is that absent such a contract, he is considered an "at will employee." An at will employee may be directed to do any job and any work the employer needs done at any time at the discretion of the employer and the employer may terminate an at will employee for no reason at all or for any reason that is not based only on the age/race/sex/disability of the employee and the employee has no recourse other than seeking unemployment benefits. When an at will employee refuses to perform an assignment of their employer, even if it is not one normally done by the employee, this can be considered "refusal to work" and also "insubordination" both of which are considered good cause for termination I am afraid and either of which if proven can be good cause to deny unemployment benefits as well. In order for your husband to have a legal claim for improper termination, he would have to prove the sole reason they did this to him was based only on his age/race/sex/national origin/disability.
The employer IS liable to pay the employee all wages earned from working upon termination or by the next regular pay day. If they have not paid him all money due upon his termination/next regular pay day, which includes any unused and earned vacation days, then he has grounds to file a wage claim with the wage and hour division to seek the compensation due him.
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