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Is it legal to fire an employee for no reason?

San Francisco, CA |

I bartend, and started working at a new lounge that opened up. Then owner saw how much tips I was making and kept complaining that I make more money then him, after a few complains he told me that he loves how I work but they are going to cut me off the scheduel because they would rather have the manager or maybe him bartend during my shift. Is this legal? It sure is not fair.

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Attorney answers 2


Absolutely. It is unfair, but it is legal.

The definition of an at will employee is that he or she can be terminated for any reason, or for no reason, as long as the reason is not unlawful. An unlawful reason would be because the employee is a member of a protected class of people, or because the employee had engaged in legally-protected conduct.

Sorry you lost your job. Good luck you.

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This isn't a case of being fired for no reason. It is a case of being fired with no cause, or no good reason. And as such it is very unjust and unfair, but not unlawful.

Of course, as anyone with relevant experience knows, the ability to earn large tips in bartending has everything to do with the personal skill of the employee. Your manager or owner may find that they are not nearly so successful in that particular measure of skill and you may be invited back after a while. If so, use your bargaining power effectively and creatively.

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Michael Robert Kirschbaum

Michael Robert Kirschbaum


Anyone can serve drinks but few have the skill to be a true bartender. Good bartenders bring customers back and are tipped well. So I've been told.