Can a company be sued for forcing an employee to resign based on hearsay?

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Can a company be sued for forcing an employee to resign based on hearsay?

At my former employment with the state of FL I was forced to resign; I was told if I didn’t resign a resignation letter would be drafted for me. This was due to another employee advising the head of the center that a fellow employee told her that I made some derogatory comments about her which I didn’t. Yet I was still forced to resign although no further digging into the situation was done and even though there was no evidence of me saying anything derogatory at all. Is this legal?

Asked on October 30, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I'm afraid that you may have no legal recourse here for wrongful termination.  The reason is that most employment relationships are what is known as "at will", and FL is no exception.  Therefore, you can choose to work for an employer or not and an employer can hire or fire you for any reason or no reason.  While seemingly unfair it's the law.

The exceptions to the above would be if this action was not allowed by virtue of an employment contract, union agreement, or workplace policy statement.  Also, discrimination must not have played a role in your termination.  Absent any of these circumstance your firing was legal.

If however, you have any further questions, you can contact FL department of labor or an employment attorney in your area.


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