I was terminated due to having a punch on at my workplace with another colleague. was only asked via text to attend a meeting with the Regional Manager. I was not advised to bring a support person, and they had no evidence of me starting the altercation. It was only self defence.
Answer Provided: If you work in a unionized work setting and you are a member in good standing, you may have recourse. Some unions will represent you, some may not.
You may work in a state that has ‘work at will’ legislation in place. It means that the employer can let you go at any time without reason. I believe that it works the same for the worker, they can also leave if they choose.
Your employer may have policies & procedures in place regarding violence in the workplace. If they have a zero-tolerance policy… well zero means none. You would have no recourse.
Depending on where you live, there may be an Employment Standards act in place. It would determine what happens if the employee is terminated. It might outline a monetary amount the terminated employee is allowed for severance but doesn’t force the employer to rehire the employee. You are still fired.
Even if you had a support person present, they would likely have been of limited value other than being a witness to the employer terminating your fairly. Defending or standing up for someone involved in a fight at the workplace, whether as the instigator or in self-defence would be a hard go.
For further discussion of conflict and conflict resolution in the workplace, visit the Live For Excellence Book Store for the following publications:
Surviving and Thriving: How to Ensure Your First Year at Work Doesn’t End in Disaster
Bullyproof Your Workplace: Strategies to Prevent Workplace Bullying
PROtect Yourself Now!: Violence Prevention for Healthcare Workers
Assert Yourself! Harnessing the Power of Assertiveness in Your Career
Rae A. Stonehouse is an author, speaker, and self-publishing consultant dedicated to helping others embrace constant improvement and overcome challenges. With over 40 years of experience as a Registered Nurse in psychiatry and mental health, Rae brings a wealth of knowledge and passion for self-development to his writing and presentations.
As a 25+ year member of Toastmasters International, Rae has systematically built his communication abilities and self-confidence to share his insights as an author and speaker. His self-help books and personal development presentations aim to have conversational one-on-one connections with readers and audiences.
Rae is known for his wry sense of humor and sage advice delivered in a relatable coaching style. After four decades as a nurse, Rae has rewired rather than retired, actively writing and pursuing public speaking. He strives to share lessons learned to help others achieve personal and professional growth.