What are an at will employee’s rights regarding termination?

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What are an at will employee’s rights regarding termination?

I worked at a company for 4-1/2 years as a delivery driver. A few months ago, the manager hired her husband to do the same job and gave me less days. I called the owner to ask for more days and the following day I was scheduled to work. The manager called me into her office, told me that she didn’t appreciate me going over her head, fired me for going over her head. I’ve been there 4-1/2 years and never had a problem. Told me that she didn’t have to give me any reason by law. Do I have something tangible?

Asked on September 27, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Did you have a union agreement or employment contract that governed the matters concerning your dismissal? Was there a company policy that was violated by your supervisor's actions? Was your treatment the result of some form of legally actionable discrimination? If not (and from the facts presented there doesn't appear to be), you termination was lawful.

The fact is that not all employee's need to be treated equally or even fairly (short of legal discrimination). Therefore an at will employer can hire/fire, promote/demote, increase/decrease/ salary/hours and generally impose the terms and conditions of employment as they see fit. This includes discharging an employee for any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice.


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