I work in the SoCal area (Baldwin Park) and have worked at my company for the past 11 years. For a great majority of this time I have been feral cats in the area which I also trap to get spayed/neutered and micros-chipped.
Recently, HR sent me the following
It has come to our attention that you are feeding the stray cats that roam our facility. Please refrain from doing so immediately. This is health and safety risk for our employees.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
I went to talk with the HR manager along with my manager. The driving force, based upon what I read between the lines and talk with HR, is that they fear I would get hurt or injured then sue the company. The HR manager threatened to terminate my position if I didn't stop immediately. Fine, California is an at will state, so they can basically fire me for any reason so long as it isn't discriminatory (e.g., age, race, religion, etc).
During the conversation, I mentioned, in hind sight I should had not said this, but I would go to the other side of the fence and feed them there. The HR manager said if I did that they would still terminate me.
So, my questions are:
- Can the HR manager still threaten my position if I get the permission from owners of the property next to my company's and feed the feral cats on my own time?
- Is there any recourse (i.e., legal or otherwise) if they terminate my position even though I feed the feral cats on my own time and not on the companies property?
Any thoughts, insights, or comments is greatly appreciated.