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Can I sue my employer for wrongful dismissal if I was terminated without just cause 4 wks in to my 90 day probation?

Seattle, WA |

Went on weekend business trip to train at one of employer's other venues. After first day of training, went to local pub with fellow manager that was training me. Had two drinks and going to washroom around 7pm was my last memory of weekend. My next recollection was waking up in a different hotel on Monday morning. After my investigation from calls to wife and father back home, I was sent to my hotel by police Friday evening that stated I was found incoherent in middle of busy street. Showed up for training on Sat. 3 hrs. late and GM thought I was drunk due to slurring & not making sense Missed my flight home Sun. & found in and out of consciousness Sun. eve Rushed to hospital by ambulance. Flew home Mon. & missed work. Terminated w/out chance to explain myself.

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Attorney answers 3


You didn't have a chance to explain yourself to your employer. But you didn't do much of a job here on avvo either. The only thing I know about your predicament is that you had some drinks and remember nothing more of the weekend.

In any event, as a new employee and, in particular, as a probationary employee, your rights are decidedly limited. That would be true even if you were a member of a union (which presuably is not the case).

If, as you seem to mildly hint (I'm saying that it is just a wisp of a hint), there was a medical reason for your behavior and your blacking out (other than something related to alcohol), I suggest that you make that known to your former employer and see if something can be worked out.

Perhaps another attorney more optimistic than I will make suggestions related to the Americans with Disability Act.

Good luck to you.

Michael S. Haber is a New York attorney. As such, his responses to posted inquiries, such as the one above, are limited to his understanding of law in the jurisdiction in which he practices and not to any other jurisdiction. In addition, no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to constitute legal advice, nor to constitute the existence of an attorney/client or other contractual or fiduciary relationship, inasmuch as rendering legal advice involves the ability of the attorney to ask appropriate questions of the person seeking such advice and to thus gather appropriate information. In addition, an attorney/client relationship is formed only by specific agreement. The purpose of this answer is to provide the questioner with general information, not to outline specific legal rights and remedies.


Probation means probation. Probationary employees are on "try out" and there are almost no protections afforded them if the decision is not to retain them. You may have a medical condition that accounts for your experiences, or you may have experienced an alcohol-medication reaction. You may even have been the victim of a third-party having tampered with your drink. But none of these require the employer to reverse the decision to terminate your employment. You need to realize that the employer has the benefit of additional information from the supervisor that you were with that evening. I feel bad for you and I can imagine how pole-axed you feel. For purposes of protecting yourself in the future, you should definitely investigate with your doctors what may account for such an extreme experience. But it will not be productive for you to chase this employer.

My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice. I give legal advice only in the course of an attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by individual consultation and execution of a written agreement for legal services.


You did not actually say this in your question but it was implied that you may have had some sort of medical problem. Since this seems to have occurred during a business trip, and your employer was present and on-notice that you had a medical incident, it might be worth meeting with an attorney just to make certain you have no medical/disability discrimination related claim. As the other attorneys stated, however, since you were a probationary employee and it is not certain there even was a medical condition qualifying for protection, it is unlikely you have a claim.

This answer is not intended as legal advice; you should contact an attorney directly to go over the facts of your case independently to assess whether you have a claim and what your best course of action may be.

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