Can You Get Fired for False Allegations?

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If your employer makes false allegations at you, and dismisses you from your employment because of this misinformation, you may feel devastated and not understand what happened. You will probably also feel like fighting back. Even if your employer was perfectly within its rights to fire you, there may be recourse that you can pursue for these actions.

At-Will Employment

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Employment in most areas is at-will. This means that you are employed because both you and the employer want you to be employed, and the relationship may be ended by either party for any reason. Your employer does not promise to employ you for any specific length of time. Most job applications outline this policy, unless you are a union employee or otherwise covered by a contract.

Nature of Allegations

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The nature of the allegations against you are important. If you are a supervisor, and your employer accuses you of sexual harassment of a subordinate, the nature of the allegation may lead your employer to take serious action. While it is wise for an employer to have proof substantiating any reason that it fires an employee, this is usually not required because of the at-will nature of employment. If the false allegations have caused irreparable damage to your character, your employer has committed libel or slander, and you may be entitled to damages.

Unemployment Compensation

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The causes for employment termination are more likely to matter if you apply for unemployment compensation. Your application for unemployment compensation will probably be rejected because you were fired. You can file an appeal and have a hearing, where you will be able to make your case as to why the employer was wrong to fire you. The employer will be given a chance to show why the dismissal was a reasonable action on its part. The hearing officer will make a determination as to if the firing was for unjust reasons. If it was, you will probably be able to receive unemployment benefits but won't be offered your old job back.

Your Recourse

If you believe that your firing was because of prohibited reasons, you have recourse through your state's human rights commission. Examples of prohibited reasons include being fired because of your gender or because of your race. The Family Medical Leave Act also prohibits your employer from firing you because of your inability to work during an illness, as long as the duration of your incapacitation does not exceed 12 weeks in any one year. If you believe that you were improperly dismissed from your job, you should consult an attorney.

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