What to do if I was fired from my bartending job for giving a beer ordered in error to a customer for free?

UPDATED: Aug 6, 2011

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What to do if I was fired from my bartending job for giving a beer ordered in error to a customer for free?

I have been employed for over 8 months as a bartender. I worked last night and reported to work this evening for my night shift. I was then informed by the manager that I was fired for giving a beer ordered in error to a customer for free. I was told that this is against the law. I stated that I did not know this and was told that it didn’t matter – no excuse. Is this a case of wrongful termination?

Asked on August 6, 2011 Massachusetts


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

As a matter of fact your employer can discharge you for this. If you are an "at will" employee (and most employees are) your workplace can fire you for this or any reason, even no reason at all. Employers have a great deal of discretion when it comes to setting the terms and conditions of employment. So unless a company policy, a union agreement, or an employment contract prohibited this action, your employer's action was lawful; no laws have been violated.  

Note: Another exception to the above is if there was some form of discrimination at play (although you did not indicate that to be the case). That would be illegal. But based on the facts given there seems to be no actionable discrimination involved in your dismissal.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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