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How do I fight this? New Jersey New Jersey

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  • How do I fight this? New Jersey New Jersey

    I live and work in NJ, I know its at-will employment, but there has to be some limits...

    I worked at a company for about 18 months. During that time, there have only been 2 problems to come up. One was a written warning in August, which I called corporate about, and never heard anything back. And the second was last week, which ended with me getting fired.

    There has been an ongoing problem with a coworker, who no matter how many times i brought it up with my manager, she refused to do anything about. She made a complaint last week and within minutes my manager wanted to talk to me, and in an attempt to end it, my manager decided to meet with the 2 of us, and the 2 of us turned into me, my manager, her, and 2 of her coworkers. During the meeting, she made a claim that I took 2 breaks during the day, and our break policy is only 1 30 minute break.

    My manager reported that to corporate the next day, and I was suspended. Corporate was going to investigate the claim. On Monday, someone finally called me and asked me for my statement of what happened. I finally got a call back today, telling me that I was fired for taking longer than a 30 minute break, but only clocking out for 30. I never given the opportunity to give my side of the story on this new claim.

    Corporate told me that my manager says she's seen me doing this for months, and that I should have been fired during my warning in August for this, even though nobody has ever said anything about this in all that time.

    I work with a few people i ended up friends with. These people, which are 5 out of the 12 people who work there, keeping in mind 4 made the claim against me, were never questioned at all during this investigating.

    This left me with some interesting questions / points:
    If I was doing this since before August, why did it take until now for my boss to bring it up to corporate?
    Why were none of the people who would actually say anything in my defense questioned during the investigation?
    Why didn't I get to give my side of the story to this new claim before being fired?
    Why the inconsistency between how fast my manager handles complaints that I know happen, and reporting what she claims has been happening for months?

    Now, the company's policy is to investigate these issues, to figure out if firing is the right answer or not... my question, with this information, what's the right way to fight this?

  • #2
    On Monday, someone finally called me and asked me for my statement of what happened.

    Huh? Wasn't that exactly your opportunity to say what happened?

    If I was doing this since before August, why did it take until now for my boss to bring it up to corporate?

    I have no idea.

    Why were none of the people who would actually say anything in my defense questioned during the investigation?

    Again, I have no idea. Perhaps it was assumed they had nothing relevant to contribute.

    Why didn't I get to give my side of the story to this new claim before being fired?


    It appears you had a chance to do so (the phone call you received) but no laws require your employer to get your side of the story before taking action.

    Why the inconsistency between how fast my manager handles complaints that I know happen, and reporting what she claims has been happening for months?

    Again, I have no idea. But the bottom line is, even if you were treated unfairly and were terminated for something that you didn't do, nothing illegal occurred. File for unemployment benefits and start looking for a new job. Good luck.

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    • #3
      no, the statement was for the claim of taking 2 breaks during the day.

      This new claim came out of nowhere the next day.

      When I woke up today, I thought I was suspended for a claim of taking 2 breaks. By 9:30, I got a phone call saying i got fired for lying about the times I'm off the clock

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      • #4
        Nothing you have posted suggests that anything illegal has occurred. What law, exactly, do you believe was violated?
        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.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by tonyl1234 View Post
          When I woke up today, I thought I was suspended for a claim of taking 2 breaks. By 9:30, I got a phone call saying i got fired for lying about the times I'm off the clock
          This would still not be an illegal termination.

          http://employeeissues.com/wrongful_termination.htm
          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
            but even though its at-will employment, doesnt the company still have to follow their written procedure when something comes up?

            Comment


            • #7
              Probably not. At least historically the vast number of company policies fail to rise to the level of a legally enforceable contract. The only real way to tell for sure is to have a local attorney read the actual documents, compare them to NJ labor law, plus related court decisions. Look at all NJ court decisions in which the court decided that the company policy was legally enforceable. This is likely a very short list. Then see if the details in those court decisions, the "things" that made the courts decide that contrary to common practice that those cases were somehow special, and see if your facts somehow tie to those decisions.

              Employment-at-will has hundreds of years of court decisions behind it. I am not saying that there are no exceptions, but those exceptions tend to be someone writing an actual law saying that there is an exception, like say Title VII. No one has written an actual law saying that company policies are generally legally enforceable. And most courts find that they are not.

              I understand that this is not the answer that you are looking for.
              "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
              Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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              • #8
                So I understand employment at will, but there's nothing i can do to fight asking for my statement on one topic, then firing me for something entirely different, then claim the whole investigation was about the second topic?

                The law allows keeping a termination on file thats the result doing a one sided investigation?

                It doesn't seem right, while its at will, there has to be a point where if you fire someone because you don't like the color of his car, that you can't say its because he didn't show up for work

                Comment


                • #9
                  How many times do we have to tell you that your termination was perfectly legal? Asking us over and over and over isn't going to change that fact.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    It may or may not "seem right" but it's legal. And it's going to continue to be legal no matter how many times you ask the question.

                    If you want a different answer you're going to have to provide a different set of facts. You've got the legal answer to the set provided.
                    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.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by tonyl1234 View Post
                      what's the right way to fight this?
                      There is no way to fight this - nothing illegal was done by employer based on what you posted. Sorry.
                      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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