Can I be fired for not getting customers to sign up for free magazine subscriptions?

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Can I be fired for not getting customers to sign up for free magazine subscriptions?

I work for a small department store. About 6 months ago, the main company made a deal with a magazine company to offer ,in the stores, up to 3 magazines for 3 months free. Most of their stores are in rural areas, so this does well in those stores. The store I’m in is not. Most of the customers do not want any magazines. Our district manager is saying he wants those not getting subscriptions written up and after so many write ups fired. The only ones making money from this deal are the “higher ups”; employees get nothing.

Asked on May 4, 2011 under Business Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you do not have an employment contract, you are an employee at will, and an employee at will may be fired at any time, for *any* reason that is neither illegal discrimination (no firing due to race, religion, sex, age over 40, disability, etc.) or retaliation for using a protected benefit (e.g. FMLA) or making a protected claim (e.g. for overtime).  Apart from that, you can be fired, for example, for poor performance however the employer chooses to define performance--which can include not signing people up for free magazine subscriptions. It doesn't matter that employees don't themselves receive anything--business have no obligations to share proceeds with their staff. Similarly, it's hardly uncommon, and it's definitely not illegal, for management to benefit when lower-level staff do not.


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