What can I do if my boss has verbally threatened and tried to fire me? 5 Answers as of March 14, 2012

Today my boss told me I am not allowed to have a break, while all other employees received breaks. I then said "[profanity] I'm taking my break". He then replied and said to talk to his boss about it because he had work to do. He then got into my face so close I could count the taste buds on his tongue. I then backed up and told him to get the [profanity] out my face. He replied "what are you going to do about it?" and once again was in my face and his saliva was getting on me. I then turned around and told him if he touches me I will sue him. He then told his boss about the situation while I continued to work. 10 minutes later I was called to his office and they told me that I was fired. I then proceeded to tell them my side of the situation and that if they were firing me I had nothing to say to them. They told me to go home and come back tomorrow while they investigated the situation because there were multiple witnesses. The sad fact of the matter is we are talking about my father, who has verbally and physically abused me for years. My employer still does not know about his abusive past but I'm just sick of the whole situation. My question is if I return to work and then they fire me for this situation is there anything I can do or should I do something about it right now?

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The Law Offices of Laura A. Walker | Laura A. Walker
Does the company have more than 50 employees? If so the EEOC could help you.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 3/14/2012
Fisher, Butts, Sechrest & Warner, P.A. | Matthew W. Birk
An employer can terminate an employee for any reason or no reason, as long as it is not an illegal reason. I don't see much basis for a claim based on the information you provided. If you want to pursue a claim, remember that the workplace carries significantly shorter limitations periods than claims arising in other settings.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 3/14/2012
Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
The practical answer is that you should find another job. Generally, unless there is a contract, employee manual or collective bargaining agreement, if you have a right to quit your employer has the reciprocal right to quit you. Your explanation of the facts does not disclose or imply a reason for your termination that would make it illegal. Much more information would be necessary in order to form a firm legal opinion as to your specific case.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 3/14/2012
Pingelton Law Firm | Dan Pingelton
You can't sue someone for being rude. In this situation, unless you have a collective bargaining agreement or other type of contract, you are probably an employee-at-will and have no grounds to sue for wrongful termination.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 3/14/2012
Fox & Fox, S.C. | Richard F. Rice
Ideally, you would never use profanity in the workplace because it can be reasonable for an employer to fire you for using profanity at work. Please learn to replace profanity with words that might help you make a viable claim by referring to your "legal rights". In your situation, you could and should have said that you believe that you have a legal right to take a break and that you would complain to management/human resources/bigger boss/owner about the violation of your right to take a break rather than using profanity. It is unfortunate that your Father was (and/or is) abusive to you but since your employer does not have that knowledge, it may not be relevant to your situation. When you return to work the next day, you should only express your feelings about your legal right to a break being violated, but obviously admit you used profanity if asked and mention your abusive Father if it would be helpful to your situation. If you are not allowed to return to work, file for unemployment although your employer may contest your claim, look for other work and contact the contact the Wisconsin Equal Rights Division to determine if you may have any viable claim for wrongful termination.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 3/14/2012
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