Mom Fired For Selling Girl Scout Cookies At Work

Girl Scout cookiesLike many parents, Tracy Lewis wanted to support her daughter's sales of Girl Scout cookies. So Lewis set up a display of Thin Mints at a convenience store operated by Bon Appetit on the American University campus, where she worked in food services for 30 years. But then without warning, she claims, her boss fired her last month for "gross misconduct by soliciting" and "operating a personal cash business," reports

Lewis, a single mother, claims that she's been selling cookies at work for three years for her daughter's Girl Scout troop at the campus convenience store. "I had the cookies on a cart, and I would never ask anyone to buy them," she told MYFoxDC. "But, if they wanted to buy some I would sell them."

But according to the termination letter that she was given by her Bon Appetit manager, Lewis' swift trade in Girl Scout cookies "violates company policy." (Bon Appetit declined to comment, telling the TV station that "employee relations information is confidential.")

More: 7 Ways You Can Be Fired For Your Appearance

Firing a person, without warning, for raising money for a cause might seem unjust. But it's perfectly legal.

"Every state and D.C., except Montana, is an at-will state," explains employment law attorney and AOL contributor Donna Ballman. "They can fire her because they don't like Girl Scout cookies, or they don't like Girl Scouts, or they don't like the color green. They can fire her because they don't like Thin Mints, although that would be crazy."

Many companies, she says, have rules against soliciting donations from co-workers, "for the obvious reason that it's disruptive at work and people get tired of being pestered."

But there can be other reasons too, such as in the case of 36-year-old waitress Stacey Fearnall, who was fired in 2008 after she shaved her head to raise money for a local cancer charity. An employment lawyer noted that Fearnall would have been able to claim sex discrimination, if bald men were allowed to work in the restaurant.

Lewis couldn't make the same case -- unless, that is, Bon Apetit let its employees sell candy bars for the Boy Scouts.

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