Can I be fired over the phone? 10 Answers as of November 22, 2012

On October 17th, 2012 I received a phone call stating I was being terminated and I did not need to report for work that evening but I did need to deliver my equipment and uniforms to the employee replacing me. I refused to give my uniforms and equipment to someone else and opted to bring them in due to the fact I was required to pay a deposit and did not want to risk someone else damaging them. The reason I was being terminated was because they didn't like my demeanor with the customers and employees. I was never written up, given any verbal warnings, or anything of that nature. I am an African American lesbian woman and I feel I was terminated due to someone's personal feelings towards me. I received my final paycheck approx. 3 days after I was terminated and no separation paperwork. It also took an additional week for me to receive my uniform deposit back after I returned all equipment and uniforms. Is there anything I can do about this?

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KEYL ADR Services, LLC | Mark D. Keyl
MS is an employment at will state, which means you can be terminated for any reason that is not discriminatory. They can terminate you.
Answer Applies to: Mississippi
Replied: 11/22/2012
John Simmons
John Simmons | John Simmons
You may be fired by telephone call. It does not have to be done in person. If the motive for the firing was that you are black and/or are a woman is illegal. It can be difficult to show in court, through evidence, that the motive was such, rather than merely your demeanor with customers, as the state reason for your firing. If you could prove it was your sexual orientation that was the real motive, that too may make your firing illegal. As for your paycheck being 3 days later, the employer must provide your final paycheck in Idaho on the earliest of: 1. 10 days of termination, 2. first regularly scheduled payday after your termination, or 3. 48 hours of your written request for earlier payment of your final pay. Given that you were never written up, given any verbal warnings, you will likely qualify in Idaho for unemployment benefits while you look for other employment.
Answer Applies to: Idaho
Replied: 11/21/2012
Law Offices of Frank D. Granato
Law Offices of Frank D. Granato | Frank Granato
Unless the employee handbook states otherwise, you can be terminated by phone.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/21/2012
WILLIAM L SANDERS, ATTORNEY AT LAW | William L. Sanders
Yes, you may be discharged over the phone, or by US Mail, or by e-mail, etc. There is no requirement that they do this face to face. Sexual preference is not a protected class in GA or under the EEOC.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 11/20/2012
Behren Law Firm
Behren Law Firm | Scott Behren
If you feel your termination was based upon your sexual orientation or race, you can file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 11/20/2012
    License Advocates Law Group LLP | Christine McCall
    It is lawful in California to be terminated over the phone and there is no specific paperwork that must be issued. It is lawful for the employer to terminate an employee on the grounds of the employee's attitude or skill with customers and other employees. If you have evidence on which to demonstrate that the termination was actually based on your race or sexual orientation, that may be a different matter. In that event, you should take your evidence to an attorney for a full discussion and analysis of a potential discrimination claim. But discrimination on the basis of your race or sexual orientation will not be inferred merely from the fact of your race or apparent sexual orientation. These claims, like other employee claims, are necessarily established by evidence.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Nancy Wallace, Attorney at Law
    Nancy Wallace, Attorney at Law | Nancy Wallace
    REJOICE! Don't walk RUN! TO THE EDD and apply for Unemployment Insurance. There is nothing in writing about the termination, so you never signed that you received any notice of the termination, so you can answer the Unemployment Insurance questions that you were just terminated for no reason, no 'cause'. If you were terminated for good cause, you'll be denied Unemployment benefits. But when you're just told not to come in, and there's nothing in writing, that's just like getting laid off because there isn't enough work just now.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Coane and Associates
    Coane and Associates | Bruce Coane
    Yes. You may have legal rights which could be pursued by filing with the EEOC, etc.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Fox & Fox, S.C. | Richard F. Rice
    If you believe that your race and/or sexual orientation were a reason for your termination, then you should file a discrimination complaint with the Wisconsin Equal Right Division (ERD). You should start by making a written request to obtain copies of your personnel records and file for unemployment. Contact an employment attorney if you want to discuss your situation in more detail.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 11/20/2012
    Cuomo LLC
    Cuomo LLC | Oscar Michelen
    If you are not in a union or under a contract, then your employer can fire you in whatever manner they deem appropriate. The minor delays you mention are not actionable. Now, if you have proof that you were terminated because of your gender, race or sexual orientation (prior comments, harassment for ex) then you may have a claim under federal , state and city law. Most lawyers that handle these claims do not charge for an initial consultation, so I suggest you do a little research and reach out to a plaintiff's employment discrimination lawyer as soon as possible for further guidance. Best of luck!
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/20/2012
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