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Wrongful Termination/Discrimination Case? Wisconsin

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  • Wrongful Termination/Discrimination Case? Wisconsin

    Hi All,

    On 10/23/09 I was terminated from a health care position because of a computer policy violation. Basically I was talking about work with other co-workers via Facebook. Just to clear it up, my FB account is secured to ppl I allow only, and all the comments I made were made from my home computer, not on work time .

    I put something as my status...and co workers as well as myself commented.
    This is what was said (names are fake)

    Mike Status- Excited for the weekend!
    Comment- Beth- And Gary too!
    Comment- Mike(me)- Haha, you can take Gary, Bob, and Judy (700-2, 734-1, and 743 and snow them lol.
    Comment- Michelle- And Terry too!
    Comment- Crystal- oh ****, hes back?!?

    Now a co worker turned us in (someone from my friends list). Myself and Beth were terminated, and the other 2 ppl involved only got warnings.

    In my time with the company I have never been disciplined, or even talked to. Never even been Late.
    I was given the option to appeal to a fair treatment board thru work, i took the necessary steps to begin the appeal, and was denied in the first step by my former manager. Also, my unemployment is on hold pending investigation. My employer states to the unemployment dept that i was terminated due "unsatisfactory performance", which is false.

    Here are my questions.
    1. Did i break any policy saying what I did? (for all anyone knows, I was talking about aunts and uncles!)
    2. How can I get fired and the others did not? ( is that discrimination)
    3. How can they deny me the appeal process?
    4. How can they claim that my job performance was unsatisfactory to unemployment?
    ( in all of my annual reviews, i was told that my performance was Great!)

    What can I do?!?! Tough job market, and not able to get unemployment benefits??

    Any help is appreciated!


  • #2
    1.) We have no idea. We don't know what your company policies say.

    2.) Nothing you have posted suggests that it is ILLEGAL discrimination for you to get fired when others don't. It's only illegal discrimination if you are fired and others are not BECAUSE OF your race, religion, national origin or other characteristic protected by law. The law does not require that all employees be disciplined exactly the same - only that differences in treatment not be based in so-called "protected characteristics".

    3.) Unless guaranteed by legally binding contract or CBA, no appeal is required by law.

    4.) If they find it unsatisfactory for you to be disparaging your employment or co-workers on Facebook, then of course they can say it.

    FYI, the term, wrongful termination has a very specific meaning under employment law. Unless a specific law prohibits the employer from firing you for the reason he did, it is not a wrongful termination. No law yet exists which prohibits an employer from firing you for disparaging your employer or co-workers on Facebook. Therefore, you were not wrongfully terminated. It may or may not have been unfair. It may or may not have been an overreaction on the part of the employer. But it was not wrongful (illegal).
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


    • #3
      I also have to add that if the employer is telling Unemployment you were term'd for unsatisfactory performance, they are doing you a favor. They could say they fired you for misconduct, which could affect your getting benefits. By saying it was unsatisfactory performance, they're pretty much saying they won't contest your UI benefits.

      As a healthcare compliance officer, I can tell you that we're all getting lots of advice to crack down on employees discussing work issues (the company, management, co-workers, clients) in public or even semi-public forums. Even though you didn't apparently say anything horrible, they probably had to make an example of you & Beth, to discourage others from trying anything like this.