Are rumors and hearsay enough to fire someone?

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Are rumors and hearsay enough to fire someone?

I was recently terminated from a summer camp along with 6 other counselors. They accused us of smoking marijuana and called everyone who worked at the camp in to ask us if we knew anything or if we had been smoking. I told them I would not answer those questions. I was terminated. If I take and pass a drug test would I have a case for wrongful termination or defamation? Apparently some people said I was smoking. Is refusing to throw someone under the bus reason enough to be let go? I know this is a better question for employment law but i need an answer asap and it wouldnt let me select employment

Asked on June 27, 2013 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

In an "at will"employment relationship, an employer may file an employee for any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice. The only exceptions would be if the employee's dismissal violated company policy, the terms of an employment contract, a collective bragaining agreement, or if the terms of their discharge was the result of actionable discrimination.

Anne Brady / Law Office of Anne Brady

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

North Carolina, like Arizona, is an at-will employment state, meaning an employer can fire an employee for any reason except a discriminatory one (such as based on the employee's race, religion or disability).  Because there is no evidence here that you seven counselors were discriminated against in such a fashion, your claim for wrongful termination will fail.  You might have a case for defamation, not against your former employer, but against anyone who lied about you and said you were smoking pot, if you knew anyone who defamed you in such a way, and if that lie was the reason they fired you.


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