I have worked for Dunkin Donuts for 3 1/2 years. I'm am being force to take a demotion or be terminated. I'm a salary employee and don't want to take the demotion. I don't have any verbal or written warnings.
Maryland is an at-will employment jurisdiction which means that employment can be terminated for any reason or no reason at all, as long as the reason is not illegal. Illegal reasons tend to be discrimination based on status as a protected class (race, gender, religion, etc.) or engaging in a protected activity (attending jury duty, whistleblowing). If you have an employment contract that dictates terms of termination of employment, then you could be protected by that. Otherwise, your employer is probably acting lawfully.
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In Maryland, most people are employees at will which means that they can be fired or demoted for any reason as long as it does not violate a contract, the law, or the Constitution. Absent a contract, they would not be able to fire or demote you because of your race, gender, disability, or for other classifications protected by law, but they could fire or demote you for any reason absent these types of circumstances. Consult with an employment attorney to see if there is anything that you can do.
This answer is being given for general informational purposes only and is not protected by the attorney-client privilege since this is a public forum. The information provided does not create an attorney-client relationship. No communications with me on this forum shall be construed as arising out of an attorney-client relationship. If a client needs specific legal advice or opinions, he or she should retain counsel for advice or to undertake representation.
On behalf of a client, I sued the Dunkin Donuts in Rockville, Maryland (Wintergreen). You should talk with a lawyer.
If it hard to provide a complete answer because you not provided enough information. As a salaried employee, it is doubtful that you have an employment contract that gives you a right to be fired or demoted only for cause. You also probably work for a franchisee and not the franchisor, Dunkin Donuts. This will reduce you options.
Most likely, you are an "at will: employee. That means the employer can fire or demote you at any time or for any reason and you can quit for any reason. This common law rule is not fair and does not recognize the differences in power between an employer and an employee, but it is the law in almost every state.
If the your employer is motivated by unlawful reasons -- sex, race, national origin, age, disability, etc. -- you can try to build a case. Seeking relief through filing a discrimination complaint with a local, state or federal agency takes time and is necessary before you can go to court in most states.
You might consider thinking practically. Accept the demotion and look for another job. In the interim, do nothing that you justify your firing or a bad reference.
I am proving only general information on my experience as a lawyer. This not legal advice that can be relied only the individual who is making inquiry.
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