Unlawful Termination

One of my favorite posts on the JibberJobber blog is YOU’RE FIRED! Will you do us a favor and sign this before you go?

Ah, the nerve of employers… really!

I have over 30 comments on that post, but one really stuck out.  Robert Merrill has been in the recruiting and employment space since I’ve known him, and really knows his stuff.  He recently left a comment there with some great advice for people who have issues with this, or feel like they’ve had problems with a termination.  THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE – you may have to consult an attorney or employment specialist, but here are some ideas from Robert (link to the original comment):

@justme You have rights that were not handled well. I am sure the company you worked with did a fair job on their end to make sure these details were washed away.

If what you explain here is fully true, you have grounds here for at least investigating a Worker’s Compensation claim (to pay your medical expenses for your arm injury, and to provide you with reasonable work for reasonable pay, or to pay you for lost work damages) You also may have a wrongful termination suit you can file as well, which should help you get back on your feet.

HOWEVER, the unemployment ruling is likely right…. you were not laid off and its unclear weather you quit or you were fired in the eyes of your state. Obviously, you wanted to go to work, but the fact is that you didn’t show up, and I am sure the papers filed from the company say you didn’t show up, or you were an absentee or something of that effect.

THE MOST IMPORTANT thing you need to figure out is can you prove that you got hurt AT WORK.

Who threw the package of frozen food to you? Will they testify about the exact work you were doing? (They might be fired for it… are they willing to do that?)Is it reasonable and rational to assume that catching those frozen foos is something that COULD be dangerous to you or someone similar to yourself in size and weight, without additional safety precautions being taken. Accidents DO happen…. you’re not trying to prove it’s ALWAYS dangerous, just that it could be, in the right (or wrong) circumstances.  What do your doctor’s notes explain about the injury? You have a right to those records… Would any other people in your life have the ability to make a judge believe and understand your story? Maybe someone you complained to about the injury… someone who went to the doctor with you?

The BIG problem you face is its clear your relationship with the people you worked with was NOT GOOD and that can harm you big-time. Are any of those people willing to stand up for you? The company is NOT on your side, but is there any information you can get from them about what happened?

If you can prove this case somehow, I would recommend calling an attorney and asking for a consultation. If you can find one that specializes in workman’s compensation cases AND wrongful termination, that is your best option… they will know what to do, and if your case is solid.

You may not be able to pay… make sure that’s clear up-front. If you have a good case, they will likely take it anyway.

I would avoid the “one call, that’s all” traffic accident attorneys you see on T.V., but that’s just my opinion.

Good luck.

He follows up with this:

Oh, don’t contact anybody at that company unless you ABSOLUTELY trust them that they will not talk about you to their managers or any one who might.

If there is documentation (or a LACK of documentation) there that may prove what happened, and it comes out that you’re sniffing around for information, one thing is for SURE, it will get lost, shredded, altered, destroyed or alternative documentation will get mysteriously created to show that the company did everything right.

DO NOT raise any red flags about you to the company. Let you attorney do that, with a subpoena. In the military, this would be called “Shock and Awe”.

Thanks Robert, that is some really helpful stuff! Again, you should probably consult with an attorney or someone in the know about this, as Robert’s advice is not legal advice.

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