Can I make a valid claim for unemployment, severance pay or wrongful termination if company policy was different that that whichI was told?

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Can I make a valid claim for unemployment, severance pay or wrongful termination if company policy was different that that whichI was told?

I was fired from my job yesterday; I have been taking my free manager shift meals home in a to-go box 2 nights a week when I work a closing shift and do not get a break (12 hour shift). I was given permission to do this by a GM who retired about 6 weeks ago. The new GM was promoted from within our store and she nor anyone else ever addressed this issue or directed me in any way that lead me to believe I was not allowed to do this anymore. I have not received a separation notice and do not expect one.

Asked on October 1, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, if you did not have an employment contract protecting your employment, by limiting the reasons for which you could be fired, guarantying employment for some term, or providing a process which must be fired for discipline or termination, you probably cannot make a wrongful termination claim. That is because without a contract, you would be an employee at will, and an employee at will may be fired at any time, for any reason--and that includes that a new GM does not approve of a policy or practice which a prior GM had allowed. You are not guaranteed any warning or notice or chance to change what you're doing if you are an employee at will, and the employer can terminate you immediately.


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