I bought a few items at this retail store as a customer. I was off the clock at the time. I got fired for disobeying a “policy” that was never instated in their policy. When I got hired no one told me about this “policy” nor a manager came to me and told me this was a policy that was enforced. I feel like my employer fired me because other customers saw my coworkers giving me the items from the back stock room. These customers then wrote a letter to corporate stating that I did something wrong. When multiple managers told me it was first come first serve since I was off the clock. Me and my two coworkers got fired over the situation, but there was more employers involved which they never got in trouble for even though they said they checked cameras. They said they were investigating the situation, but we got fired not even a week later when they told us it was going to take time. I felt discriminated because me and my coworkers are minorities and the ladies that wrote to corporate were Caucasian, and my district manager is also a Caucasian female. These ladies also came up to me while I was working and harassed me even though I told management they never took it into consideration.
If an employer has five or more employees, under the California Fair Housing and Employment Act (FEHA), it is unlawful to harass or discriminate against an employee in certain protected categories including but not limited to: age (40 or older); race; gender; national origin; marital status; sexual orientation; complaints about employer unlawful conduct or unsafe working conditions. If you feel you have been harassed or discriminated against unlawfully categories you should consult with an employment law attorney. Most of us offer free consultations.
Disclaimer: Please note that my response is meant for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice in any manner. My response does not form an attorney-client relationship with you and I am not your attorney. All legal claims have a statute of limitations, which may be extremely short, so to protect yourself you should contact an attorney immediately.
Your employer has no legal duty to publish its policies in any way. You can be terminated for breaking a policy you were never told about. This is because in California you are considered to be employed at will unless you have an agreement to the contrary with your employer. The employer of an at will employee can terminate the employee for any reason or even no reason at all. Terminating an employee for breaking an unknown policy is therefore lawful. That said, an employer cannot terminate and employee because that employee is a member of a protected class of people. To prevail in an action arising out of these facts you would have to be able to establish with admissible evidence that you were fired because of your race. Speculation will not be enough.
At this point the wise move would be to locate and consult with an experienced employment law attorney as soon as possible to explore your facts and determine your options. I would suggest you look either on this site in the Find a Lawyer section, or go to www.cela.org, the home page for the California Employment Lawyers Association, an organization whose members are dedicated to the representation of employees against their employers.
Most employment attorneys who practice this area of law work offer a free or low cost consultation in the beginning and then, if the matter has merit and value, will usually agree to work on a contingency basis, meaning you can hire an attorney without paying any money until the matter results in a positive outcome for you. Many advance all the costs of the litigation as well. Do not let fear of fees and costs keep you from finding a good attorney.
Good luck to you.
This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering party is only licensed to practice in the State of California.
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