Does being fired after the fact constitute wrongful termination?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Does being fired after the fact constitute wrongful termination?

I worked at a bank. They opened an investigation on me and several other employees because they suspected that we committed fraud with some credit card applications. We were interviewed and submitted statements. The investigation came back clean. We were given informal notices due to the investigation and a 6 month probation. A year or more later, we got fired because of said investigation with our employer claiming that we falsified documents. However, we had already been given a corrective action at that point. If they came to the conclusion that fraud had been committed, then why wait a year? Why not fire us as soon they concluded the investigation? This happened soon after the bank announced they would be closing branches and there would be a possible work force reduction.

Asked on September 15, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, California


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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

While I agree that it is unusual to wait so long to take action, it is legal. That is unless your treatment violated the terms of an employment contract or union agreement. Otherwise you were an "at will" worker and as such you could have been terminated for any reason or no reason at all, at any time, with or without notice. The fact is that a business can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit (absent some form of legaly actionable discrimination). 

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