Is it legal to terminate employment for trying to find another job and posting about it on-line?

UPDATED: May 28, 2011

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: May 28, 2011Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Is it legal to terminate employment for trying to find another job and posting about it on-line?

I was recently fired for posting on facebook that I was looking for employment elsewhere. This was after my manager agreed to sign an employee release form granting me permission to apply for positions with the corporate headquarters that stated I was an excellent employee. Is this in any way legal?

Asked on May 28, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Unless you had an employment agreement guarantying your employment or limiting the grounds under which you could be fired, this is perfectly legal, unfortuately; without an employment contract (including a union agreement), you are an employee at will, and as the term implies, an employee at will may be fired at any time, for any reason, whether they are an excellent, average, or awful employee. The permission to look for a job at corporate headquarters would not carry over to protection from looking for jobs/posting for a job elsewhere.

Not only this is this legal; it's common and accepted; employers regularly terminate employees who are known to be looking. The thinking--which is reasonable--is that there is a risk of distraction, of disloyalty, and of being "left in the lurch" by a sudden departure; better to get rid of the worker at the employer's own timing.

Similarly, it is legal to take action against employees based on what they post in public forums, including Facebook. Only if the employer acted improperly to access the post (e.g. hacked your account) would this be an issue.

In the future, don't post about job searches on Facebook or similar social media sites.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption