If my employer found out I was seeking employment, is it legal for it to fire me because of this?

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If my employer found out I was seeking employment, is it legal for it to fire me because of this?

They told me they knew this and told me they were posting my job on craigslist. They are now ostracizing me and acting rudely and separating me from the other employees. They also gave me a formal write up for using a computer for personal matters I was never told that I couldn’t and I only used it during my unpaid lunch hour. I know they will fire me as soon as they find a replacement for me. They also found out another employee was seeking employment and did the same thing to her. Is there anything that can be done?

Asked on January 26, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unless you have an employment contract, which guarantees or protects your employment (and you are fully honoring all the terms of which), you may be fired at any time, for any reason--so yes, your employer may terminate you for seeking another job. (The law does not require an employer to retain an employer whose focus, dedication, and loyalty is suspect.)

Also, companies set their own disciplinary policies--again, unless there is a contract to the contrary--and could elect to write you up for using a work computer for personal matters, whether on lunch hour or not. The computer belongs to the company, after all, and is provided for work, not for your personal benefit. (By the way: your employer may monitor or review any files you have on a work computer, or any emails or web browing done from a work computer, or over their company network--do not assume that anything you do on a work computer, even if it is "personal," is private. Further note that if you did job searching from a work machine, that may be how they knew.)

Finally, the law does not require employers to be professional or courteous to their staff--they may be rude to you and ostracize you.

In short, it appears that what your company is doing is legal, and you would not have any recourse.


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