Can my employer fire me to hire a family member?

Posted  12-09-2014

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.

Information here is correct at the time it is posted. Case decisions cited here may be reversed. Please do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney first.


About the Author:

Steve Duggan graduated from the Law School at the University of Notre Dame while on active duty in the Air Force. He has extensive experience representing management litigating cases of wrongful termination, employment discrimination, and sexual harassment. Steve also has experience in all phases of administrative litigation of unfair labor practice charges, and class and individual complaints of employment discrimination. He has been an instructor of seminars for supervisors and managers on labor management relations and other personnel issues, and for lawyers in basic and advanced trial advocacy courses. Steve came on board with Fair Measures in 1998.