Steve Duggan replies:
Yes, an employer can do that, so long as that’s the real reason. Most employees in the U.S. are employees at will, which means they can be let for any reason, or no reason. The only limits on this right are that the motive for the firing cannot be because of a statutorily protected characteristic (like race, gender, religion, national origin, etc.), or in retaliation for being a whistle-blower/complainant. Being a non-family member is not a protected characteristic under federal or state law.
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