Can I be fired for jokingly making a political comment to a guest at work?

UPDATED: Nov 4, 2011

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Can I be fired for jokingly making a political comment to a guest at work?

I work at a restaurant. Every Friday we have a political party lunch. Usually a diverse group but this time it was the democrats (elderly). I was not assigned this section but was approached and asked for service (soup). After retrieval I jokingly stated Ron Paul 2012. She laughed and said not here. It was said in a joking context and she took it well, or so I thought. After eating she told my manager and was upset? I was suspended with pay, and pending termination. This doesn’t seem fair to me.

Asked on November 4, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Oklahoma


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Fair or not it's probably legal. That is unless you had an employment contract or union agreement that prohibited your employer's action, or there an existing company policy that governed such a circumstance, or you treated this way due to some form of actionable discrimination. If not, then your employer violated no laws.

In a work arrangement, an employer has a great deal of discretion in setting the terms and conditions of employment. This includes when and why to terminate an employee. The fact is that an employee may be discharged for any reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all.  

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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