Am I still the boss off the clock and away from the office?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Am I still the boss off the clock and away from the office?

I’m at home on my time, my office calls and says one of my employees has called
off from work and asked who was coming in to cover the shift. I asked why they
called off and they didn’t know.
I called the employee and asked why they couldn’t come to work, they say they
had Diarrhea.
In my joking manner, I told him to get a butt-plug and come to work…
A couple days later, my boss calls me and says the employee has filed a formal
complain against me for some type of harassment…
Yes I was surprised too.
My question is
If i’m off the clock away from the office, and I say something that may offend a
coworker/employee, can I be written up for it?
I am an hourly supervisor, I clock in and out like everyone else.

Asked on September 15, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, California


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can be written up for this. The fact is that most employment is what is known as "at will". This means that a company can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit. This includes writing up a worker for the reason that you state, for any reason or for no reason at all (the same for termination). The exceptions here would be if there is an existing employment contract/union agreement prohibiting such an action or if your treatment constitutes some form of legally actionable discrimination.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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