Wrongful Termination from a Restaurant?

by Marc
(San Diego, CA, USA)

After working for a well known upscale restaurant chain for 2 years I have been suspended indefinitely and most likely will be terminated after providing a shot glass to a 26 year old women without asking for ID. I didn't do anything illegal. Does this constitute wrongful termination?

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ANSWER for "Wrongful Termination from a Restaurant?":

California is an at-will state, meaning that an employer may terminate an employee at any time and for any non-discriminatory reason. When we say "discriminatory" we are referring to things such as firing you for your race, gender or on the basis of a disability. From the sound of it, you were not terminated for any discriminatory purpose, but rather for an internal policy which required you to request identification before serving alcohol.

On the face of it, this policy sounds extremely legitimate because it serves an important objective: Avoiding serving alcohol to under-age patrons. Now, if you were a contract employee then this takes you out of the at-will environment and requires the employer to provide the basis for firing.

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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Fired for doing the right thing
by: Anonymous

I worked in a diner for nearly two years. My main co-worker was a cook who was miserable to say the least. Twice I saw him defiling food. The first occasion, he stomped all over a batch of raw chicken before deep frying it. I said nothing, not wanting to be a "Rat." The second time, he spit in a customer's hamburger.

I'd seen enough. I turned him in to the boss who asked him about it. This guy has worked there for many years. He convinced the boss that I had lied. The boss fired me on the spot for lying about a co-worker.

It gets better...I called the Ministry of Labor because I was let go without notice and without my last pay for hours worked, as well as severance pay. The boss changed his story and said that I was being let go for personal issues that affected my job performance.

The Labor Board at any rate told him he either had to pay my severance pay or re-hire me. In that time I received threats from two of the staff members at that place for being a rat. I told this to the labor board. They told me that if I was re-hired and I had any trouble, I could file another complaint. Sure.

So the boss offered me my job back, knowing I couldn't possibly return under the circumstances. He was then off the hook for my severance pay. Thanks.

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