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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12942
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I work at a products plant I have been there 13months I was

Customer Question

I work at a wood products plant I have been there 13months I was aware that after receiving 3 safety violations you could be terminated...I received first violation a few months ago for not having my earplugs in the second violation came just 3 weeks ago because i failed to correctly tag a machine when i had to stop it last week i posted a "selfie" at my machine the machine was not turned on i had just returned from my lunch
JA: Because traffic laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: the Hr person told me i was suspended because using my cell phone at work was a safety violation i was sent home for 3 days pending termination later the evening i found six other employees postings on facebook while they were at work i sent these pics to the hr person that very evening she returned to the plant at 9 pm with cell phone policys for everyone to sign yesterday she called to terminate me I live in WV
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: no
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: no
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Good evening and welcome. I am very sorry to hear about this. Can you please tell me if you are in a union? Also, can you think of any ulterior reason why your employer would terminate you for a violation that other employees committed? I very much look forward to helping you on this matter.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Not in a union......I have has some disagreements with my supervisor past few months I have heard that the "rumor" at work was that i took pics of my co workers and posted them I am wondering if the HR person thought i took the pics of the other employees at work I did not I just saw them posted on their public facebook page and sent them to her so she could see that everyone was doing that
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Just today i saw my final paycheck was posted to my bank Do you think there was a misunderstanding about the pics i sent her should i try to call her and explain or is it too late
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you very much for your reply.

The general rule in WV is that employment is "at will" absent an express agreement to the contrary. 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.

Thus, an employer is not obligated to follow its own policies with respect to terminations. An employer is also free to treat employees differently (i.e. terminate one employee for a violation committed by others), even if doing so is unfair. It would only be against the law to terminate one employee for a violation committed by others if it could be proven that the employer's motivation for doing so was a legally protected trait or activity, as defined above. That would not appear to be the case based on what you have described, and so the unequal treatment would not give rise to any legal claims.

It does seem like what happened was a misunderstanding, and you should certainly do what you can to clarify that. While you cannot sue your employer for terminating you based on the facts you have described, you certainly can attempt to persuade them it is the wrong decision. That would be your best course of action under the circumstances.

If I can clarify anything at all for you, please do not hesitate to ask. It is my pleasure to assist you further if necessary....