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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Posts
    1

    Default Can You Be Fired for an Act Not Prohbited in the Employee Code of Conduct

    My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: North Carolina

    After over 17 years of employment with CVS Pharmacy, I was terminated for privately (ccv) injesting a medication that is prescribed to me nasialy instead of sublingual, the proper way.
    LP was apparently investigating me for taking money that they planted in the deposit but to their suprise, saw me snorting something in the office behind locked doors, that I had seemed to crush and started questioning me about it when Lp began a written deposition that I have yet to get a copy. I gave what I thought was a weak but belivable excuse, because it was true, which ultamatly turned into my termination that states: Code of Conduct. We are commited to providing an alcohol-free and drug-free work enviornment. since I was seen and admited to snorting drug illegally you are putting our colleagues and customers in harms way. I have been on Subutex for helping me stay opiate and alcohol free. I admit, its stupid. But not legal? I had admitted doing it 3 times in my life when i had suddely called to work in the am and not have but a fraction of my dose when doing this to ease my panic. . I KNOW they fished for other reasons but only could come to this after over 2 weeks of me thinking I was getting paid suspention but thats another question..
    Thanks for your time and I will get more detailed if needed

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,343

    Default Re: Fired Using Code of Conduct when It Doesn't State Issue

    They don't need a reason to terminate your employment. They can simply show you the door and tell you to take a hike. It sounds like they may be looking to contest your unemployment benefits should you file for them. I suspect you will have a difficult time arguing you were taking a legally prescribed medication but if that's what you were doing, I would argue their contesting with the fact you were taking a legally purchase abe prescribed medication.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    1,131

    Default Re: Fired Using Code of Conduct when It Doesn't State Issue

    Your only recourse is to file for unemployment insurance and look for another job. You are in an "at will" state, and in such, the employer does not have to follow even their own code of conduct, as long as they do not terminate you for an EEOC protected reason, such as race, creed, religion,etc. and do so directly.

    I also suspect that you may have a hard time being approved for unemployment insurance in the circumstances you describe. This chain tends to use a consulting firm instead of handling their unemployment insurance claims directly, and they'll have all their information together to verify the reason they say you are terminated and what actually happened, such as warnings, etc. But file the claim anyway, there's no down side to doing so, and be looking diligently for another job, strongly suggest in another field.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    16,747

    Default Re: Fired Using Code of Conduct when It Doesn't State Issue

    Quote Quoting Deadoceans
    View Post
    I was terminated for privately (ccv) injesting a medication that is prescribed to me nasialy instead of sublingual, the proper way.
    As already discussed, there was nothing wrong or illegal about your termination so let's move on to the subject of UI.

    I'm not sure I see that as rising to a sufficient level to be considered "misconduct" under NC's UI statute although your employer might report it that way. If you get denied initially, make sure you file an appeal.

    Here's the misconduct statute:

    http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislat...S_96-14.6.html

    There were some changes in the UI law in 2013 so I picked a few appellate court decisions made since then. I haven't read them. They may have gone for or against the claimant but all should have a thorough discussion of the employer's burden of proving misconduct.

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar_ca...en&as_sdt=4,34

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar_ca...en&as_sdt=4,34

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar_ca...en&as_sdt=4,34

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar_ca...en&as_sdt=4,34

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar_ca...en&as_sdt=4,34

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar_ca...en&as_sdt=4,34

    Note that "unpublished" opinions might not be binding on a court but could provide leads to other decisions.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,844

    Default Re: Can You Be Fired for an Act Not Prohbited in the Employee Code of Conduct

    There is only one reason to snort your Subutex, and that is to get high. You can be fired for being stoned on the job, even if you have a prescription for the medication that you use for that purpose.

    If your prescription is not adequate to stabilize your cravings, that's something you address with your doctor, not by abusing your medication. If you can't resist abusing your Subutex, ask your doctor about switching to Suboxone.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    23,856

    Default Re: Fired Using Code of Conduct when It Doesn't State Issue

    Just to confirm, this was a legal termination. It may or may not have been unfair; we don't have the facts to determine that, but unfair is not illegal.

    A wrongful termination does not mean that you were fired for something you didn't do; it means you were fired for a reason prohibited by law.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    1,131

    Default Re: Fired Using Code of Conduct when It Doesn't State Issue

    I don't see any clever way the claimant would be able to twist this situation into any of these determinations which indicate how the courts are regarding work related misconduct.

    I would tend to think that not only would this termination be for misconduct, it would likely be for "gross misconduct" in that any reasonable person would've perhaps suspected that it wasn't all right to snort things at work, even drugs that they have a prescription for, clearly for the purpose of getting a stronger effect. Maybe they should've reasonably known doing this even one time, and without prior warnings was likely going to lead to their termination.

    I suspect that if this claimant did happen to be approved for unemployment insurance, it would not be because the courts of last appeal determined that what they were fired for did not rise to the level of misconduct. It would be because this employer had mistakenly tried to throw in too many misconduct examples including the kitchen sink I suspect they have after having employed this person for several years.

    They were, by the OP's admission, watching to see if he/she would take money from the safe, and instead saw them snorting a drug they were not supposed to be snorting, in other words, using it in a way not prescribed or recommended which could very well have resulted in the person being impaired on the job.
    But since this chain contracts out their U.I., I suspect that they'll handle it well enough.

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