I was recently terminated due to a minor “policy violation”. I was not aware of this policy and it is not in my employee handbook. Do I have options?

UPDATED: Mar 16, 2012

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I was recently terminated due to a minor “policy violation”. I was not aware of this policy and it is not in my employee handbook. Do I have options?

I received points and coupons through my company’s loyalty program. I gave $31 in discounts that customers were entitled to but did not have a loyalty card. They said this was theft. They intimidated me and scared me into thinking this was a big deal and gave me no choice but to sign a confession and agree to pay it back along with investigative costs. I was told if I cause any problems, they will change it from “policy violation” to theft and prosecute me. I do not feel that such a small violation, especially since I did not know it was a violation, constitutes my termination.

Asked on March 16, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Under the law in all states in this country, unless an employe has a written contract of employment, all employees are terminable at the will of the employer. The only time where an employee cannot be terminated from a legal standpoint is when the termination is based upon some form of discrimination based upon gender, race, religious grounds, sexual orientation and the like.

From what you have written, it seems that your option is to simply make a claim for unemployment benefits.

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