This is the ugly side of at-will employment. Under at-will employment, a worker can be fired for any reason, so long as the reason does not involve discrimination and a few other rare exceptions. Marissa Holcomb was fired from her job as manager at the Popeye’s in Channel View, a Houston suburb after the place was robbed. The robber took $400 from the cash register. Ms. Holcomb was told to pay back the $400 or be fired. The pregnant mother of three chose to be fired. She could not afford to pay $400, especially after risking her life for her employer. The robber pointed a pistol at her and others during the incident.

Ms. Holcomb was fired less than 36 hours after the robbery. A franchise spokeman said she was fired because she left too much money in the register. She had been warned about that previously. But, responded Ms. Holcomb, they had a very busy hour in which they took in $400. Popeye’s was running a $1.19 two chicken special. See CBS news report.

Popeye’s is out $400 and Ms. Holcomb is out of a job. As she explains, who is going to hire a five month pregnant employee? And, under the at-will doctrine, there is nothing she can do about it.