is demotion legal based on speaking to a family member about a work incident?

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is demotion legal based on speaking to a family member about a work incident?

i have worked for a company for 16 years as General Manager. with no disciplanary issues. recently a party of 3 employees are claiming that im unfair. one of the employees is my neice the other is her boyfriend and their friend.they use to work on graveyard together until they violated policy. human resources told me to seperate them and i did she loved her schedule and he became disgruntled. I had confeided in my brother because we are close and my neice stated that she does not recognize by brother as a father. word got back to them and i was demoted and removed.

Asked on June 27, 2009 under Employment Labor Law, Washington

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Unless you had a written employment contract, you are an at-will employee, which means that you can be fired and the company doesn't even have to have any reason at all;  so a demotion works under the same rules.  There are some limited exceptions.  If there is an employee handbook that sets out the reasons that you could be fired or demoted, and that is worded in a way that lets it be used as a  contract (which is rare), or if there was some other illegal reason for an action (and there's nothing in your question to suggest anything like that), you might have a chance of suing.  To look into this further, for an opinion based on all of the facts, please talk to a local attorney. One place to look for a lawyer is our website, www.attorneypages.com


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