Can my brother sue for wrongful termination?

Asked over 1 year ago - San Clemente, CA

My brother and sister work at a local "superstore". My brother was off for the day and was purchasing juice while waiting to pick up my sister after her shift. My brother went to a cashier to purchase his items, took out his wallet, and took out his loyalty card, and his card to pay and placed them on the counter while distracted by the fact that my sister was late and looking for her. The cashier used a $5 gift card that was left behind by a customer, and told my brother that he got $5 dollars taken off and that he was good to go. My brother wasnt paying attention and thought she meant that the points accumulated were used and was happy until after the fact the cashier said it was a customers' card that was left behind. LP came and recorded the event. He was suspended and fired.

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Attorney answers (2)

  1. Paul Y. Lee

    Contributor Level 18


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . California, like most states, is an "at will" employment state. An employer can terminate an employee for any reason or no reason. However, there are exceptions. An employee may not be discharged for discriminatory reasons, such as race, gender, age, national origin, religion or sexual orientation. An employee also may not be discharged in retaliation for refusing to comply with an illegal directive of the employer, or for engaging in certain other protected activities, or if the employment contract or collective bargaining agreement provides that the employee can only be discharged for cause. The reason for your brother's termination appears unrelated to any of these protected categories, and hence his employer likely was within his right to terminate him. However, the circumstances leading to the firing may be such that your brother may want to discuss the situation in detail with the employer and appeal to the employer's sense of fairness, even if the termination was legal. Your brother may want to consult with a lawyer to further discuss his situation.

    This response is for information purpose only and does not constitute a legal advice. This response does not... more
  2. Neil Pedersen

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree with Mr. Lee. The basis for his termination appears to be completely unrelated to the harassment you report in your other post. If that is the case, an employer can terminate an employee even if it is in error in thinking that the employee was acting inappropriately. However, it it could be PROVED that the termination was related to the other harassment you reported, your brother might have a claim against his employer.

    I should note that even if your brother was terminated properly, he might still have a claim for the harassment he suffered while still working for the company.

    Good luck to you and to him.

    This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed... more

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