For the most part, our hours outside of work should be our own. We should be free of our employer’s rules and allowed to act in accordance with our own beliefs and whims. Does this mean that workers can absolutely never be fired for their off-duty conduct? Unfortunately not. Employers can have valid reasons for firing someone for off-duty conduct, but sometimes they actually end up taking discriminatory actions. If you were fired for something you did outside of work and you believe that discrimination played a role, you should talk to an Atlanta employment discrimination attorney.
Does Your Employer Have a Policy on Off-Duty Conduct?
One important factor is whether or not your employer has an off-duty policy that all workers must follow. If their policy is reasonable and specific, it can be difficult to fight back against being fired for your off-duty conduct.
These policies are supposed to focus on how off-duty conduct can affect job performance. They also should be consistent with an employer’s other policies, like sexual harassment and social media policies. If your employer would struggle to connect your off-duty activities to your job, then it would be hard to argue that you have been fired for legitimate reasons.
Could Your Off-Duty Conduct Have Affected Your Employer?
Your employer could fire you for off-duty conduct in some situations where your actions have hurt the company’s ability to do business. If you end up getting arrested, for example, and you are connected to your employer in multiple news stories, they could argue that you are hurting their reputation.
They may also be able to argue that your arrest is directly connected to your job performance. Let’s say that you get arrested for theft. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says that your employer cannot fire you just for getting arrested. However, if they can argue that your off-duty conduct has made you unfit for your position you can be let go. You got arrested for theft, and you are a cashier responsible for handling money. Your employer can say that you are no longer trusted in that position.
Do I Need an Employment Lawyer?
It depends on why you think you were fired. If you were simply let go because your employer believes that your behavior reflects poorly on the company, it is unlikely that you have a case. However, if you think that you were actually fired due to your age, race, or another protected part of your identity, then you may want to speak to an attorney. Keep copies of emails or any other correspondence with your employer, and be sure to gather any other evidence that could indicate that discrimination may have had some hand in your firing.
Contact Our Law Firm Today
If you think that you have been discriminated against at work, contact Ben Barret Law. Discuss your situation at a consultation and learn more about what we can do for you in this difficult time.