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Can my boss fire me just because she doesn't like me?

(MoneyWatch) Dear Evil HR Lady,

I have a new boss (as of June 2013). As new bosses tend to do, she came in with a "better way" of doing things. I try and be open minded but I do not agree with her vision. I say "we can agree to disagree" but that is not good enough for her. She demands agreement, which I cannot give since I do not agree. She comments on my body language, which she tells me she does not like. I find her to be creepy and my gut reaction is to be as far away from her as possible.

I am extremely good at my job. I have received "exceeds expectations" on my performance reviews by my former bosses (exceeds expectations is the highest rating you can get in my company). I have the respect of senior management.

I feel that my new boss is not a fan of me and I am wondering if I can be fired because of that. She and the SVP of HR are very chummy. They eat lunch together, spend time in each other's offices (the offices at work are all glass).

If asked "do you like working for , do I have to answer that question? Is liking your boss a job requirement?

Please let me know what you think about being fired because my boss does not like me and vice versa.

The short answers are, yes, your boss can fire you if she doesn't like you and no, liking your boss is not a job requirement, but be careful because your boss can fire you if she doesn't like you.

The long answers are a bit more complicated. New bosses often want to change things. That is fine. Often, that's why they were hired. The people above them wanted a change of some sort, otherwise, they would have hired someone with the same vision as your previous boss. (Although, it is highly possible that they just hired poorly and really did want a clone of the last guy, but that doesn't change your situation.) "Agreeing to disagree" is perfectly possible and appropriate in social situations, but not at the office. Your boss wants you do things her way, and by golly, if you want to succeed under her, you better do it her way!

I realize that her way may be utterly ridiculous. I also will state flat out that bosses that refuse to see the possibility that you can do things successfully in multiple manners are not likely to be good bosses. But, none of this changes the reality that she is the boss. She wants you to use Comic Sans 12 point font for everything? Do it. It's stupid. You know this, but do it anyway. You're smart enough to figure that out.

However, when it's more complex -- she doesn't want you to do the same report that people in six different departments rely on, for instance -- it's a bit harder. But, you cannot just say, "agree to disagree" and continue on as you have been, and expect there to be no consequences. What you can do is tell her precisely why you do the report, and when she still says no, send an email to the six departments, with her copied on it, letting them no the report will no longer be produced. But, if you go behind her back and do it anyway, you are risking being fired.

If you do go against her, then when you get fired it won't even be because she doesn't like you, it'll be because you were insubordinate. While legally you can be fired because your boss doesn't like your personality, most companies don't allow that for anyone below the top levels. (At the top levels, the new CEO firing all the VPs is quite normal, but they are special cases.) In most companies, your boss will have to give HR and her boss a reason for the termination and insubordination is a great one. "I don't like her!" is not a good one, and her request will likely be denied.

Now, are you required to like your boss? Of course not. But, if you start answering questions about whether you like her with, "No, I think she's creepy," the you'll likely find yourself on unemployment. It's best to be polite.

Now, let's talk your relationship with senior management and your previous boss. You've gotten great reviews and the big bosses like you. That's awesome and it means you have a great company reputation. But, you need to be very careful that you don't rely on that to pull you through this. You can take your concerns to someone who you had a relationship with prior to the new boss, but only on a limited basis. You do not want to be constantly going over your boss's head. It will not endear you to your new boss.

You also need to consider that, while your previous boss gave you stellar appraisals, that boss is gone and the new boss is different for a reason. Which means that your old appraisals don't mean you are doing what needs to be done going forward.

Your reality is, unless you firmly believe the new boss is a disaster and will be fired shortly -- which I don't think you do -- you have the choice to either follow her lead or leave. Of course, you don't want to leave without a new job, but start looking. Not every boss is for every employee. Someone who performs in a stellar manner under one boss will not necessarily perform the same way under a different boss. Staying or going is (likely) your choice. But choose. Don't just sit on the fence. And if you choose to stay, choose to do what the new boss wants.

Have a workplace dilemma? Send your questions to

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