Can I be terminated for allegedly kicking a fellow employee?

by Chris
(Laporte, Indiana)

An employee I work with has made false accusations that I kicked him. There are no witnesses, just his word against mine. In twenty years working there I have never assaulted anyone. The only incident I ever had was an argument with my supervisor about working conditions, he didn't like it and suspended me for three days.

Other than expressing my opinion, I have been a good employee for twenty years. So the big question is, can I be terminated because one person says I kicked him? How do I defend myself and I keep this from going in my record? Any tips you can give would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Can I be terminated for allegedly kicking a fellow employee?":

Chris (Laporte, Indiana):

The State of Indiana recognizes the doctrine of "At Will" employment. This means, in most cases, an employer may terminate an employee for any reason. There are exceptions. An employer may NOT terminate an employee based on:

- Discrimination of race, nationality, religion, sex, age, or in most states, sexual orientation

- Retaliation because an employee filed a claim of discrimination, or is participating in an investigation of termination of employment based on discrimination

- A contract of employment where an employee was fired in violation of the terms of a written contract of employment

- Illegal Acts where an employee was fired based on his or her refusal to commit an illegal act

- Family or Medical Leave where an employee was fired because he or she exercised their legal rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

From the facts you present, you do not seem to fall under any of these categories. Moreover, the State of Indiana is a "right to work" state. This means an employer or union (labor organization) may not require a prospective or current employee to:

(1) become or remain a member of a labor organization

(2) pay dues, fees, assessments, or other charges of any kind or amount to a labor organization; or

(3) pay to a charity or third party an amount that is equivalent to or a pro rata part of dues, fees, assessments, or other charges required of members of a labor organization

You can find more information by going to Indiana's Department of Labor website.

To read Indiana's statues on the Right To Work policy, go to Section 22-6-6-6 through Section 22-6-6-8 of the Indiana Code.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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