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Can an employer terminate one for an altercation with another employee that happened off work premises and off the clock?

Columbus, OH |

my boyfriend was at a restaurant for a work meeting. after it was over some people stayed to hang out. one of his co-workers started talking smack to him and saying that if he wanted to fight he was ready. my boyfriend started to walk away and the guy called him a word for a female breeding dog and a derogatory word about his religion and my boyfriend turned around, punched him in the jaw, and left. the co-worker complained at work and now my boyfriends boss is threatening to terminate him, but we don't think that's legal, is it?

Attorney Answers 3


I agree with Matthew's answer. Ohio is an at-will state, meaning the employer can terminate your boyfriend for no reason or any reason, as long as that reason is not discriminatory.

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2 lawyers agree


Yes, it's completely legal for the company to terminate him for the assault and battery of a coworker off company property. It's unfortunate and wrong that the coworker said what he did, but your boyfriend could have removed himself from the situation and discussed it with the appropriate personnel within the company rather than becoming violent.

I wish you both the best of luck.

Matthew J.P. Coffman

This information above is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have questions about your individual circumstances, please consult with an attorney. Please feel free to contact the firm. However, contacting the firm does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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3 lawyers agree


Matthew and Rachel are right. In an employment at-will state, fighting with a co-worker, even outside of work hour and property, would be a legitimate basis for terminating your boyfriend's employment.

THESE COMMENTS SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED LEGAL ADVICE. Comments made on websites such as are provided for information purposes only, and you should not base a decision to act or refrain from acting based upon this answer.

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