Do I have any legal rights against my employer for laying me off due to a situation that wasn’t my fault?

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Do I have any legal rights against my employer for laying me off due to a situation that wasn’t my fault?

I drive a dump truck. The trucks are owned by the company. I am assigned one of the older trucks that has over 466,000 miles on it and the company’s maintenance dept is not qualified to fix the drive train. The other day something in the differential broke leaving me stranded. The company had it towed to a 3rd party shop to be fixed. Meanwhile, they gave me a drug test (came out negative) and told me I was laid off until the truck was fixed. When I asked why so long since there are other trucks, they said it was company policy due to it being my fault (on a truck with so many miles no less).

Asked on September 24, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Indiana

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I know that is seems unfair but it is legal. In an at will employment arrangement an employer can set the and and conditions of employment as it sees fit. That is unless such an action violates its own company policy, a union agreement or employment contract. Also, this action must not be due to some form of actionable discrimination. Absent that, an employer has virtual authority to require or prohibit whatever actions it deems necessary.

And you should be aware that you can be fired, with or without notice, for any reason or no reason at all. So again, while unfair, it appears that you really have no choice in the matter.

Note:  If this action does violate an employment contract, policy, etc., you can file a complaint with your state's department of labor.


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