A whole lotta wrong. Arizona, slander? Wrongful termination?

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A whole lotta wrong. Arizona, slander? Wrongful termination?

Post  zenon on Sat Dec 20, 2008 2:24 am

Hello,

I am in a pretty stressful situation right now.

I got fired from an "entry level" position at a multibillion dollar company in October of this year, along with a coworker. The reasons our boss told us were that we were taking too many breaks. This was not true, for me anyway. They based their assumptions on not using our badges to open the door each time we went out. My badge would sometimes not work, and othertimes I wouldn't have it on me. I did use it most of the time, and ALWAYS when it came to punching in or out for the beginning of my shift, lunch, and to go home. I worked a 10 hour shift, so I got 40 minutes of paid break time, broken down into four 10 minute breaks throughout the day. I was pretty shocked that I got fired, especially with no warning and no previous "behavioral problems", but accepted it and went home. After I cooled down, I called Human Resources to ask for evidence that I was abusing breaks, and explained the above break schedule, and how I feel I was wrongfully terminated. Nobody ever got back to me.

I figured it wouldn't really matter. I'm young, people get fired all the time and deal with it. I could use the downtime to further my education.

Fast forward to this week. I've been attempting to collect Unemployment Insurance (UI) for the last three weeks. My claims have all been approved, but when it comes to getting paid, I get an "error" stating that they cannot pay me right now due to an unresolved issue, and that I would be receiving paperwork in the mail to resolve the issue. I called UI because I had not received any forms. The agent I spoke with informed me of the issue. My former employer had made the claim that I was "falsifying my time card" and that was why I was terminated. I explained to the agent why they told me I was fired, and that there was no way I could have been falsifying my time cards. I also mentioned that my previous supervisor at this company had "given me permission" to take my breaks in 4x10. The "offical policy" was to take two 15 minute breaks and one 10 minute break, so I thought maybe that was why? The agent took down all of my information, and told me that my previous employer would have until Friday (today) to provide evidence for their claim.

And that leaves now. I checked the UI website to see if my claim has been updated, and it has. I am not eligible to receive UI.

I do not know what kind of evidence they provided, and since my previous employer has not returned any of my calls, I am unsure what to do. I would like for them to send me copies of everything relating to my termination, but I can't even get through to a live human being.

I can live without receiving UI. The thing I am mainly concerned with is the slander I feel this company is bringing to my name. (Especially as a young person with very limited work experience.)



I need advice on what I should do.

The people who I have spoken with about this issue have told me to try to contact Human Resources again, and if nothing gets resolved, to contact Legal. I do not know if the company has a legal department though, nor do I know how I would even bring this up. Should I hire a lawyer or is my case simple enough where I could do all of the work myself?

How can I ensure that Human Resources will send me everything in my termination file? I read another thread on this board about getting personell files subpoenaed. Can someone direct me to somewhere that would help me do this?


Thank you.


Also, I feel I should add:

While on my breaks, the same exact people were always there before I would go outside, and stayed after I returned inside. None of them were fired. Some days I would not take any breaks aside from my 30 minute unpaid lunch, which was considered mandatory unless given explicit permission by a supervisor.

zenon

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Re: A whole lotta wrong. Arizona, slander? Wrongful termination?

Post  JoeC (McGruff) on Sat Dec 20, 2008 2:48 am

Wow that is quite a story since you are collecting unemployment the state found in your favor so that is not an issue. As far as getting your personnel record I donít know if AZ requires the employer to hand it over on request, as far as subpoena . There is no reason to, if you feel that you were wronged and a lawyer agrees the lawyer files a suite in court.

At that point the employer will have to turn over the file at the discovery phase, so a subpoena would not be necessary. I am trying to see in your post were you believe you have a wrongful termination suite. You may have a case but nothing really jumps out. I can tell you Arizona has a law known as the Employee Protection Act Read it here http://www.azleg.gov/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/ars/23/01501.htm&Title=23&DocType=ARS

A.R.S Title 23-1501(2). The employment relationship is severable at the pleasure of either the employee or the employer unless both the employee and the employer have signed a written contract to the contrary setting forth that the employment relationship shall remain in effect for a specified duration of time or otherwise expressly restricting the right of either party to terminate the employment relationship. Both the employee and the employer must sign this written contract, or this written contract must be set forth in the employment handbook or manual or any similar document distributed to the employee, if that document expresses the intent that it is a contract of employment, or this written contract must be set forth in a writing signed by the party to be charged. Partial performance of employment shall not be deemed sufficient to eliminate the requirements set forth in this paragraph. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to affect the rights of public employees under the Constitution of Arizona and state and local laws of this state or the rights of employees and employers as defined by a collective bargaining agreement.
I would contact an employment attorney in Arizona show him your employee hand book to see if you have wrongful termination suite.

As far as filing your own case in court I would not recommend that, you could loose money on the filing fee alone. If you have a case an attorney will say so.
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Re: A whole lotta wrong. Arizona, slander? Wrongful termination?

Post  zenon on Sat Dec 20, 2008 3:11 am

I'm not collecting unemployment though. The "evidence" my previous employer provided determined that I am not eligible. I am thinking about appealing that through the UI appeal process, but I would like to see the evidence so I know what I'm disputing.

I don't have a copy of our employee handbook, because they had it on the company-wide intranet.

My main concern is that they're claiming I falsified my time card (which is a huge deal, and would look really bad to potential employers if/when I apply for jobs in the future) when I did nothing of the sort. I think that would be the wrongful part, unless I'm mistaken by the meaning of wrongful termination. Or- would it just be them being liars since that's not what I signed on my termination "contract"? I don't know what that's called, but the sheet you sign when you get fired.


Do I just call lawyer and explain my situation to see if they think I have a case?

What would that even accomplish? I simply want my name to be cleared of this nasty blemish. I do not want to return to work for this employer. I don't think I even want to 'sue' them.

I suppose I could always just negate this employment from my job history, but that would make me look bad as well. I'm 22, and aside from this job I've only had one job previously, for about 6 months in 2006- that I quit.

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Re: A whole lotta wrong. Arizona, slander? Wrongful termination?

Post  JoeC (McGruff) on Sat Dec 20, 2008 3:26 am

I thought you said you were approved for U.I if not, yes appeal then they have to turn over the reason to the unemployment office. The employer can lie to the U.I office from there it is up to A.L.J to determine who is telling the truth. Now if the employer lies to a prospective employer; and you do not get hired over it, then you would have a possible slander case.

Oh by the way if your fired in the future never sign anything. That strategy is known as the exit interview. Make no mistake it was crafted by company attorneys in the HR dept.
Itís like the old one two punch you still reeling from the termination then they make you sign a release of liability. They wonít call it that, but the devils in the details.


Close reading of the statement will show that what it says. That you where treated fairly, and discharged for just cause. Then comes the waivers. Your ADEA rights, your right to sue, possibly your right to file unemployment claim.

Have none of it! Your fired and thatís all there is too it. Take your final check severance pay COBRA notice, any thing else you can squeeze out of him. Take copies of the release of liability UNSIGNED and take it to your attorney. There is no advantage to hanging around and being scammed into something that will help your employer.

The facts that he would make you want to sign document relating to your termination. Only show heís worried about its validity and he fear the worst of all labor suits, wrongful termination. A good labor attorney will be able to squeeze more out him than he is offering out of the goodness of his heart.

JoeC (McGruff)

I checked the UI website to see if my claim has been updated, and it has. I am not eligible to receive UI.
Yes you did say you were not approved appeal the employer.
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Re: A whole lotta wrong. Arizona, slander? Wrongful termination?

Post  rdm4416 on Sat Dec 20, 2008 4:26 am

First, I would remove "slander" from your vocabulary with this situation. Calm down and appeal. State the facts and only the facts. I noticed you mentioned something about using a swipe card when taking breaks. At my company, it is written in our handbook that you use your swipe card when entering and exiting the building. If you knew that your badge didn't work "most of the time", then you should have reported this to your supervisor. Why wouldn't you report this, if you knew you had to use it to account for your breaks? I am assuming that this is why they are stating you falsified your timecard. I really don't think you have anything to worry about in the future, when you apply for another job. If the company is as big as you say it is and you were an entry level employee, then they probably won't even remember who you are when you need a reference. They will pull a file and provide dates of employment, job title and that's it. Best of luck with your appeal.
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Re: A whole lotta wrong. Arizona, slander? Wrongful termination?

Post  JoeC (McGruff) on Sun Dec 21, 2008 2:07 am

zenon Marketeer on that other site gave you a pro-employer lackey answer because he is a pro-employer lackey. Disregard it
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