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curiousinFL

Former Employer

5 posts in this topic

It's now 1 1/2 yrs after being wrongfully terminated, and having the company try to block my unemployment claim. I won an appeal hearing(unemployment) based on my ex-boss giving irrelevant information(things that have nothing to do w job performance) and mis-truths which included attacks on my personal character, client complaints that didn't exist and things of this nature; and it was found that he did not have sufficient reason to terminate me(it MIGHT be irrelevant but this happened to be 2months after asking for a review and possible raise). Now I find out that he's feeding these same lines to prospective employers trying to get a reference. My questions are: Do I have a wrongful termination case? And, What information is a former employer allowed to disclose to potential employers? Telling lies to other potential employers; isn't this defamation of character?

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Further information...What led to termination of my employment was: Unhappy/irate customers raising their voice, getting in my face, and demanding things that were just not possible. They became so irate I feared an altercation, so I distanced myself from the 2 people and reported an assault/threat to police. Long story short, after 3+yrs of dedicated service to this company, my boss stated that he had to let me go because(this is a direct quote) "i cant have you calling police" (theres no company policy against reporting crime). As i said this was two months after he was upset about me asking for a review and possible raise(i believe he was fishing for reasons to get rid of me, how dare I ask for a raise, right?), then he told unemployment all these made up reasons for terminating me. This wrongful termination (is it?), combined with continuing to give bad references; I'm thinking there is some sort of legal action I can take...Feedback is greatly appreciated.

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"Do I have a wrongful termination case?"

No. Just because an employer tells nonsense to an unemployment commission doesn't mean you were terminated unlawfully. He's free to fire you because he's irked that you asked for a review/raise, I'm afraid.

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"Telling lies to other potential employers; isn't this defamation of character?"

Since you've presumably looked at the definition of defamation, I'd like to think you already know the answer to this. If this person is stating lies vs. his honest personal opinion, or is unilaterally offering up information that the prospective employer doesn't ask about with the intent to keep you from getting a job, it would make sense to contact a local lawyer to send him a nasty cease and desist letter and demanding retraction of the statements, and take further action if he refuses.

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Neither here nor there, but "fearing an altercation" and someone making verbal threats isn't automatically something to call the police about. The employer's free to have a problem with you calling the police if no one actually assaulted you (and I presume the police didn't pursue the complaint).

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"This wrongful termination (is it?)..."

Again, no.

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If absolutely nothing else, you need to make sure to tell prospective employers that things didn't end well with the prior employer so that they aren't expecting a good reference when they call.

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I cant see a judge saying 'well you asked for a raise, case dismissed'. The point I made, of him giving ridiculous made up reasons at an unemployment hearing(i know it's not a crime, thanks for pointing that out though), speaks to concealing the real reason(s) I was terminated. I can't think of why he would do this other than because he knows he was in the wrong. I'm not a lawyer, nor do I know the law, which is why I ask for advice. Again, it just doesn't sound right(to me) that an employer can legally terminate employment just because someone asks for a raise. Also, thanks for input on what constitutes good reason for calling police, this is above and beyond from you, especially since i dont remember asking a question about it. To clarify, I just thought I'd shed some light on the events leading to the excuse I was given for being terminated.

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curiousinFL said...

Again, it just doesn't sound right(to me) that an employer \r\ncan legally terminate employment just because someone asks for a raise.

It might be stupid for the employer to terminate an employee for that reason, but it is not "wrongful termination." 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 (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).

Firing you because you asked for a raise is not among the few prohibited things I listed above, and thus is not wrongful termination.

curiousinFL said...

And, What information is a former employer allowed to disclose to potential employers?

In most states, the former employer may tell the prospective employer pretty much anything he wishes. However, if the former employer states false facts about you to prospective employers, the former employer may be liable to you in a defamation claim for any damages caused by the false facts. The employer may, however, disclose anything that is true and anything that is simply opinion. A few states have laws that place more restrictions on what a former employer may do. For example, CA has an anti-blacklisting law that prevents former employers from calling around to other potential employers in a bid to get everyone to "blacklist" the employee and prevent him from finding work in that occupational field.

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