Posted 29 December 2012 - 04:07 PM
Posted 29 December 2012 - 04:43 PM
File for unemployment and look for another job.
Warning: Legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here are simplified and might not fully explain the ramifications of your particular issue. I am not a lawyer. I do not give legal advice. I make comments based on my knowledge and experience. I guarantee nothing. If you act on my comments without the advice of an attorney, you do so at your own risk.
Posted 29 December 2012 - 08:01 PM
Posted 29 December 2012 - 08:12 PM
Nothing illegal happened.
I disagree with adjusterjack. There are insufficient facts to determine if the employer wrongfully terminated you. When the employer is not a government agency, then the employer may legally fire you for any reason (or no reason at all) except for a few reasons prohibited by law. The prohibited reasons include firing you because:
• of your race, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetic test information under federal law (some states/localities add a few more categories like sexual orientation);
• you make certain kinds of reports about the employer to the government or in limited circumstances to specified persons in the employing company itself (known as whistle-blower protection laws);
• you participate in union organizing activities;
• you use a right or benefit the law guarantees you (e.g. using leave under FMLA);
• you filed a bankruptcy petition;
• your pay was garnished by a single creditor or by the IRS; and
• you took time off work to attend jury duty (in most states).
Note that one of the prohibited reasons in that above list is termination because of a disability. You mentioned that the Navy discharged you for a “personal disorder.” What does “personal disorder” mean? Did you mean “personality disorder,” i.e. a mental condition or disability of some sort? If so, has the disorder been diagnosed by a medical doctor? What kind of disorder — something that might cause you to act in a way that might be interpreted as insubordination? And if you do have diagnosed personality disorder, did you make your employer aware of it and how it affects you before you were fired? Also, how many employees does your employer have and in what state did you work?
The reason I ask these questions is that employers with at least 15 employees are subject to the requirements of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Some states have laws that extend protection to employees of smaller companies than the federal law does. This Act prohibits discrimination by employers because of a disability. It also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to help disabled employees perform their jobs at the required level of skill. The definition of disability under the Act is very broad and included mental disabilities. Very generally speaking, if your employer knew you had some sort of mental disability that might be the cause of your “insubordination,” the employer may have illegally discriminated against you on the basis of that disability.
You can find out a lot more about the ADA and mental disabilities from the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s enforcement guidance on psychiatric disabilities.
This is a particularly difficult part of the ADA it can be hard to distinguish what actions of the employee are due to the disability and what may simply be bad/inappropriate behavior from the employee. You might want to discuss your situation with a local employment law attorney who handles ADA cases for advice if you think that the employer might have violated the ADA.
Posted 30 December 2012 - 05:05 PM
Posted 31 December 2012 - 12:24 PM
yes, it was an personality disoder it in my medical record from the navy and I don't believe they ever ask any question on the matter on my job application.
Ok, so it was a personality disorder. The Navy discharged you for it, so it was likely something that affected your performance in the Navy. That suggests it may be serious enough to qualify as a disability under the ADA. The next issue is whether you ever made the employer aware of the disability. You said that there weren’t any questions on the job application about it. Under the ADA, the employer cannot ask questions about a disability on the job application. The purpose of that rule is to ensure that employers don’t pass over applicants just because they have disabilities. But after you are hired and you encounter any issues or problems at work that might be caused by the disability, that’s the point at which you want to inform the employer of the disability and how it affects you. That way, it gives you and the employer a chance to work some reasonable accommodation to deal with the problem. If you didn’t ever tell your employer about the personality disorder and the employer never had reason to know of it by some other means, then the termination may not have violated the ADA. That’s because the termination cannot be discrimination on the basis of your disability if the employer didn’t have a clue you were disabled to begin with.
Mississippi, like a number of Southern states, doesn’t provide much more protection than federal law provides. Mississippi doesn’t even have a state agency to enforce equal employment laws. That means your recourse here is only under federal law. In order to sue the employer for wrongful discharge under the ADA, you must first file a charge with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). That link will take you to the EEOC website that has the instructions for filing the charge. You must do that no later than 180 days after the day you were fired. Failing to make the complaint with the EEOC within that time will bar you from pursuing the lawsuit. After you file the charge, you must wait for the EEOC to give you a “right to sue” letter before filing in court. This letter doesn’t mean the EEOC thinks you will win the case, only that the EEOC decided not to take up the case for you.
You might also want meet with an employment law attorney who litigates ADA claims to see if you have something worth pursuing.
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