Affirmative Action/Quotas/Civil Rights/Fired



I have to apologize in forward, i probably am asking this specific question in the wrong topic here but I have no idea where to ask it, so if it's not your area of expertise I'd be glad if you pointed me in a different topic.


I have a friend, and he got fired recently. The reason is that they don't allow violence, though he didn't do anything violent. I asked him to write it down as it happened, so here it is:

K: well, this guy has been bothering me for a while already... calling names and throwing stuff, which I just ignored
K: but then he just body slammed into me because I "wouldn't let him past" (in reality, there was just no room to let anyone pass with a large crowd of people trying to move through a single door)
K: and then it got into a fight where I defended myself against his punches and kicks
ME: and they fired you for him punching and kicking you?
K: yep, because they don't allow violence... and because some of his friends have been saying I attacked him first, which isn't true

I'm wondering if he has a case against his employers or not.
Again if you can't help, then I'd be glad if you could point me in a different direction.

Thank you


I have to say up front that I cannot provide specific legal advice in this forum.  Your friend would need to consult an attorney in his jurisdiction to determine exactly what rights he might have.

But generally speaking, most employees are considered "employees at will."  This means an employer can terminate employment for any reason, or even no reason at all.  There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as some forms of discrimination, or labor organizing, etc.  But it doesn't sound like they apply here.  In short, someone usually can be fired for fighting, even if the fight was not his fault and even in self defense.  If two employees get into a fight, an employer need not determine who was at fault or who started it (unlike a government prosecution for assault).  An employer can simply decide it is not worth the trouble and fire both.

But as I said, there may be more to it than you have listed here, or there may be facts that could change the way the situation is viewed.  Your friend should consult with an employment law attorney if he wishes to consider his rights in challenging the matter.  He may also have to challenge the fault issue if he wishes to claim unemployment compensation.

I hope this helps!
- Mike

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Michael Troy


I will answer questions relating to discrimination law or the 14th Amendment, sexual harassment, etc. I can`t give specific legal advice involving specific cases you might have.


I have worked as an attorney in this area, including several landmark cases involving racial preferences (such as Hopwood v. Texas, University of Michigan v. Gratz and UM v. Grutter).

Former Attorney with the Center for Individual Rights.

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JD from University of Michigan Law School

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