Fired on Your Day Off: Can This Really Happen?

As employment lawyers, we have heard plenty of stories about bizarre firings, such as termination over workplace arguments and fights, gossiping about a colleague’s personal life, or downloading personal files onto a work computer.

While these situations may not all seem like valid reasons to fire someone, they all were perfectly legal.

Who Got Fired on Their Day Off?

As an employment lawyer, it’s rare that I have the opportunity to combine pop culture with the law.

This is one of those rare times.

In the movie Friday, Craig, famously portrayed by Ice Cube, gets fired on his day off. Famously, this firing sets in motion the events of the cult classic.

As Smokey famously says after learning of Craig’s termination, it’s “Friday; you ain’t got no job… and you ain’t got sh** to do.”

This leads Craig to embark down a path where he eventually confronts Deebo in the film’s climax.

Unfortunately, although this movie is fiction, the part about being fired on your day off is true.

Can my Job Make me Work on my Day Off and Fire me if I Refuse?

Firing an employee during his or her day off is a complicated question in employment law. Unfortunately for most workers the answer is: yes.

You can be fired on your day off for refusing to show up at work if your employer asks you to come.

Unfortunately, the employer is not required to change your work schedule merely because you request the same.

But there are several instances where being terminated during a day off may be illegal. We will describe them here.

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The same is generally true of refusing to work on a day off. Most employment attorneys will agree that termination cases are difficult to win due to the at-will structure of employment in this country.

There must be a legal reason why a termination is wrongful for any liability to be imputed on the employer.

The question of termination due to taking a day off is relatively complicated, however, and will depend on the circumstances.

Friday – Fired On Your Day Off (1995) RIP John Witherspoon


How do get fired on your day off?

And, yes, your company can fire you on your day off.

Adverse employment actions typically consists of:
  1. Filing a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
  2. Reporting an employment violation.
  3. Threatening to sue.
  4. Refusing to engage in an illegal activity.
  5. Reporting harassment.

What to say when you get fired from a job?

If you were fired, remain professional, explain why you were let go, how you’ve adapted or what you’ve learned, and why you will perform well in this new role. Keep your body language confident and open so that your employer knows that you’re at ease with the situation and that they should feel that way, too.

Can you get fired for taking too many days off?

No, most employers will not fire an employee for using PTO. But, at-will employees can be fired at any time for any reason that doesn’t violate EEOC policy. Employees do need to follow proper time-off request policies & return to work as agreed or risk violating a company’s time and attendance policies.

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