Under a 90 day probationary period employment ,can the employer terminate employee for any reason?

Asked almost 5 years ago - Panama City, FL

I went to work for a company as a fuel and lube man. After 29 days ,they terminated me, saying I left a fuel cap off a piece of equipment. I have witness to the fact I was never on that equipment and that I didn't leave the cap off. they terminated me anyway with no hearing of any kind.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Robert David Shapiro

    Contributor Level 15

    Answered . Sorry to tell you but under Florida law, any employer can fire you for any reason, true or not, or for no reason at all (they don't even have to tell you a reason). Florida is considered an at-will employment state which means they can fire you and you can quit a job without notice and without any obligation to each other. There are many exceptions to this at-will law, probably over 30 exceptions (too many to list here). For example, an employer cannot fire someone if discrimination is involved based on race, color, religion, gender, sex, etc. Or, if you were injured on the job and you get fired, that is wrongful or retaliatory discharge. Likewise in cases involving jury duty, family and medical leave, whisteblowing or reporting unlawful conduct to authorities, etc. Or, if you were promised employment for a certain length of time, you could sue for breach of verbal contract. My guess is that they possibly made up a reason, to-wit: the fuel cap, but there was another reason why you were discharged: for example, most employers will check prior criminal records, prior workers compensation accidents, car accidents, prior claims against insurance companies, etc., and the report comes in after you've started working showing some "problem" with your past. If this is what happened and you could prove it, you may have a case for discrimination. It's difficult to prove, and that is one reason almost all employers try to cover-up with a different legitimate reason for firing someone such as a missing fuel cap. Sorry I couldn't give you better news but perhaps this may jog your memory about priors. If so, post another question to Avvo.

  2. Archibald Johns Thomas III

    Contributor Level 14

    Answered . The answer is yes, but the 90 day probationary period has little to do with it. As an at will employee you could be terminated at any time even after the 90 day period subject to the exceptions mentioined in the previous answers. The 90 day probation period is primarily for the employers benefit in avoiding an unemployment compensation claim charge to their record.

  3. Lars A. Lundeen

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . Yes, as long as it is not for a discriminatory reason, for example, because of your race, ethnicity, age or other statutorily protected category. Most employees are "employees at will" and are subject to dismissal without reason, as long as it is not for a discriminatory reason. You should file for unemployment insurance.



    Legal Disclaimer:

    Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to insure proper advice is received.

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