Can My Employer Fire Me For Coming in Late and Forgetting to Punch In Once?

Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.

“Three weeks ago I came into work late and forgot to punch in. A few day later, I was reminded to fill out a missed punch form, so I stated the time that I came in was 11:30am. (An estimation because I was unsure). My manager approved the missed punch form by signing it. On Nov 29th, I was called into the assistant store managers office and was shown the said form. Because I wrote that I came into work at 11:30am. instead of 11:44am., which was the actual time I had arrived (per security tape) I was fired right on the spot over 14 minutes! I worked for the company for a year and a half. Can my employer do this?”

While there may be language in your employment contract that specifically addresses the punch in process, it is unlikely that your employer can use an isolated incident as justification for firing you for cause. That said, if you are an “at will employee” your employer can fire you at any time for any reason. If you do not have an employment contract, some states recognized an implied contract of employment, but those laws vary by state. If you believe you were wrongly terminated, you should consult with a qualified employment law attorney who will be able to better help you.