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Intimidate/threaten someone into resigning? Ohio

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  • Intimidate/threaten someone into resigning? Ohio

    Last week, our employer had a meeting with my fiance and I (we work at the same place). He told us that one of us would need to leave once we are married (this Saturday). He stated the the company has a policy against married couples working there (although they have many other sets of relatives working there). This policy is not in the handbook and when I asked to see it, I was denied (legal?). The company seemed to assume that I would be the one leaving. I never told them this and it was never specified which of us had to leave.

    Today the owner asked my fiance which one of us would be quitting. My fiance stated that neither of us intend to resign. We don't want to forfeit our unemployment benefits since we have done nothing wrong and were given such short notice. The owner went on to say that he has heard rumors that I would be continuing to show up for my regular shift. He stated that if I do so, the sheriff will be called on me. He said that this will be both very embarrassing for me and very bad for my fiance as well. His intention seems to be making me too scared to come to work, in which case I would be resigning by default. How can one call the cops on somebody who has not been terminated [yet] and who has not resigned? And is it legal to use these sort of tactics to get somebody to resign?

    He knows that he has no reason to fire me; he told my fiance that I have done nothing wrong. Of course he could go on to terminate me without reason, but then he would have to pay unemployment. It also seems interesting to me that, while my fiance and I are in the exact same situation and neither of us have turned in a resignation, there was nothing mentioned about calling the cops on *him* when he shows up for work.

  • #2
    Do not quit. If the employer wants to fire you, that is their call. Keep your cool. Do NOTHING!!! to escalate the situation. I would show up at work at the normal time prepared to work.

    Just a thought, but why not print a copy of this posting to take with you. If nothing else, it will give you a piece of paper to show the Sheriff.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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    • #3
      Also, check into Ohio laws against discrimination. I'm in NJ, which is admittedly extreme, but "marital status" is listed as a protected class in our state. Not sure if that's the case where you are.

      I understand that companies can have conflict of interest policies that prohibit relatives or spouses from working for the same company. But those polices can't tread on a protected class. If an unmarried couple is allowed to work there but a married couple can't, that would not be allowed in NJ. The only way the company (again, if Ohio law is like NJ) can avoid discrimination is to prohibit all romantically linked couples, married, unmarried, or otherwise from working for the company.

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      • #4
        I know zip about OH, other then OH is not supposed to have a lot in the way of labor law. Generally considered to be a "just like federal" kind of state. However, we have two very different issues here.

        In many/most states, it is indeed legal to fire people because they get married, or "involved", or because it is a Thursday. The legal rule is called Employment At Will, meaning any and all terminations are legal unless an actual law to the contrary can be found. It may be perfectly legal in OH to fire someone for the reasons stated. Or not.

        HOWEVER, it is not legal in any state to force someone to quit. The advice in all 50 states is and remains "make them fire you". And "take no action to escalate the situation". Once you are fired, go to your nearest labor law attorney, and see if you can get a free consult. If not, pay for an hour. The termination either violates some law or it does not. But quitting accomplishes nothing useful to the employee. If you do not like the current job (not the OP's issue), then look for another one while you still have the current job.
        "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
        Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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        • #5
          My ref. does not show Ohio as having marital status as a protected
          category/class unless it's a more recent law.
          Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

          Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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          • #6
            Update on my situation.

            Update:

            The morning after the threat to call the cops on me, I was called in and fired. The employer must have realized that was a bad move on his part. He was beyond cordial to me. Told me I had done nothing wrong, that they simply needed to adhere to policy, and that if a position were open at another office he would try to make it available to me.

            I went on to apply for unemployment compensation. I knew there should be no problem with my claim being approved, but I also know that my employer has a history of fighting unemployment cases. My husband has been in meetings with him where he stated that he does not believe in unemployment and will never pay somebody who doesn't work for him. So I knew things wouldn't be that simple. I also spoke to a former coworker who had gone through this. The employer appealed his determination 3 times until it was overturned and my former coworker had to pay back all of the money he had received. I'm terrified of this happening to me. I know they fight dirty and I'm not sure what my options are. I feel that it's pretty much a he-said, she-said situation. I believe that they fight unemployment claims not on the basis of merit but as a general rule.

            Despite initial opposition from my employer, I was approved for UC after giving my rebuttal. Their argument was that I knew about the policy in advance because the former Director of Operations had a meeting with my husband and I in September. This meeting never occured and that information is competely false. Unfortunately, that individual is no longer employed there and has been unavailable for comment thus far.

            Two weeks later, my employer has appealed -- now stating that I knew about the policy upon hire (not even close to true -- I have serious doubts that the policy even existed then, if at all). They enclosed documents with their appeal but I was unable to see them so I have no idea what they are trying to use. I mailed back my reasons for disagreement along with a copy of the employee handbook (in which no such policy exists). I'm now waiting for the redetermination.

            I know that even though I have a strong chance of winning this one, they will most certainly appeal again. I know that they are not above lying and falsifying information, as they've done it a couple of times already. I'm pretty much at a loss as to what to do next.

            The more I think about it, the more I feel that I was being targeted and that this whole situation was more about me than about my and my husband's marriage; however, I know I don't have a strong case or evidence supporting this. Rumors float around that this company wouldn't hire females at all if they could get away with it. My husband didn't have a threat made against his job if one of us didn't resign - only I. The employer stated that I was the one fired on the basis of seniority, which does make sense, but I feel that just happened to be convenient for them. I also have a few reasons that I believe may have caused the employer to have personal disdain against me. 1) I was looking for other employment. Apparently he had caught wind of this because it was thrown in my face during the very first meeting. 2) I once posted, on Facebook, a picture of bruises on my knees which were caused at work in a physical restraint (yes, this is normal for the job). Somebody showed this to the employer, he was not happy, but there wasn't much he could do about it so I was told I couldn't come back to work until I was cleared by a doctor -- for bruises. Basically they just wanted to be a pain in my ***. The doctor thought I was nuts. 3) I was cause for them losing, arguably, the strongest member of their management team. My husband took a demotion when we started dating. Our options were either that or one of us quit. I don't think the employer expected my husband to give up his position. The employer also continually expressed high regard for my husband and no consideration for me. When my husband and I first met with him about our marriage/employment, he repeatedly said that he had continued to let us work together throughout our dating and engagement because he "likes Jack," and as "a favor to Jack," and because he "didn't want to hurt Jack." To my face.

            Anyway, I know I'm just rambling now but I wanted to provide as much background as possible. Thoughts, advice, comments, help?

            Comment


            • #7
              It is perfectly legal to terminate you for:

              1. Looking for another job
              2. Posting things on the internet that put your employer in a bad light
              3. Causing another employee to work at less than an optimal level

              What would be illegal is, for example, if only the female half of couples who meet at work are forced to quit and never the male half.

              The best thing we can tell is to continue to tell your story calmly and factually.
              I am not able to respond to private messages. Thanks!

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              • #8
                Oh I realize those things would be legal. Ohio is an at-will state so I know that no reason at all is needed. That is all well and good. I'm more concerned with my unemployment case at this point.

                I firmly believe that my case is deserving of UC benefits and I think most would agree. There has never been proof that I was fired for any valid reason (I still don't believe this policy exists unless it was typed up last month) -- members of the management team even seemed clueless. The ODJFS initial determination stated that the employer failed to establish negligence or willful disregard of policy on my part. Unfortunately, this company has never encountered any other at-work couples so they were clueless how to deal with us (which also supports my belief that there was no concrete policy) and we have no other examples to compare my situation to.

                I'm just not sure of the best way to approach things if they continue to be dishonest and appeal relentlessly. I know they don't have a leg to stand on so they'll have to resort to desperate measures. And obviously they are far more experienced with this process than I am.

                Sorry. I know this takes my post away from the topic of this exact forum. Relocate?

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                • #9
                  No, your post is fine here. Most states recognize that "resign or be fired" is the same as being fired, so I hope that you will ultimately prevail. I think that a lot of our regular posters may not be around today due to the holiday weekend, but hopefully others will chime in.
                  I am not able to respond to private messages. Thanks!

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                  • #10
                    Thank you for your input.

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                    • #11
                      Re unemployment ins., all an employee can do is tell the truth. The "state"
                      makes the final decision whether you receive benefits or not.

                      Good luck.
                      Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

                      Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

                      Comment

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