Is it illegal to fire someone over the phone without any kind of warning?

UPDATED: Jan 30, 2012

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Is it illegal to fire someone over the phone without any kind of warning?

I was currently fired over the phone on my day off for an incident that was not entirely my fault. Also, I had brought to the plant managers attention that I felt discriminated against by my lead who was in charge in my area. What kinda of actions can I take?

Asked on January 30, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

There are two different issues here:

1) Can you be fired over the phone, without any warning, on your day off, even for something not entirely your fault? Yes, unless you have an employment contract. Without a contract, you are an employee at will, and may be terminated at any time, for any reason, without notice, and in any fashion (e.g. over the phone). If you have a contract, whatever it says about termination and discipline is enforceable.

2) What if you were discriminated against? The law does not actually prohibit all types of discrimination, or even most--for example, you can be discriminated against because your supervisor doesn't like your politics, your taste in entertainment, or how you dress. However, certain kinds of discrimination are illegal. Federal law makes it illegal to discriminate againt any employee due to  his/her age over 40, disability, race, sex, or religion; certain states add additional categories, usually national origin, language, family status, and/or sexual orientation.

If you were fired primarily due to your membership in a protected group or category, you may have a legal claim; if you think this was the case, you should speak with an employment attorney.

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.

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