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Minority Status, 401k, and Termination

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  • Minority Status, 401k, and Termination


    I was employed at a company in Massachusettes that is incorporated in Delaware for about 5 years.

    I was never given notice and was lied to and about by my manager. He also swore at me and had temper tamtrums usually on mis information. He also would send out invoices for work I did but described it very poorly so some clients refused to pay the invoices. Clients liked me and I always got bonuses and raises.

    I spoke to upper management and the owners about the managers behavior several times. They Talked to the manager about it, they also got his wife to work there because they thought it would calm him down and it did somewhat.

    After several talks in a few day about his honesty issues where he admitted now wrong and said it was all my fault I was fired the next day after the last meeting, when I disagreed about some facts he was saying which could of been proven by some emails. He yelled your fired in the hallway and told me to leave, took the laptop with emails and erased them all. I was a good working and always did what I was told to do in terms of work.

    This manager also had 3 employess walk out on him since I worked under him. He was difficult and it was sometimes a hostile enviroment.

    After being fired, I am having issues with my 401k. I am trying to get it rolled over to a 401k. The company is not treating me well. They also lost my paperwork for the roll over even though I sent it Certified mail Return Reciept and it was signed for, they say they don't have it. A few weeks berfore the manager blew his top again and fired me I was going to take out a loan for a car against my 401k, and I asked how much I was vested in, and they said 100% vested cause I have been there 5 years. Now when they resent me the paperwork (that got lost) the are saying I am 80% vested. I emailed the owners of the company and plan administrator and got no response. I think they are going to say I am 0 percent vested because I was fired. I never know or was given documentation on how much I was vested in until I asked about the 401k loan a few weeks ago. And since then it has changed several times. They are very hard to deal with. I feel they are giving me bad comments when other employers are calling in to verify work there.

    Also I am a minority and the only one there at the company for 5 years. They recently claimed and filled out paperwork to get minority status to beat out a competitor who was a minority owner and got goverment contracts. The only thing is they put it under the owners wife, who I have never seen work there in the 5 years I have been there and run the day to day operations. Once I was told to set up a desk and computer at the office for her beceuase investigators were comming in. I am afraid I was fired maybe because of this and myself being a minority and/or fired right before I was fully vested in my 401k plan.

    Also I feel I am treated and talked about unfairly after being let go, because I did not have a non-compete with the company and they are afraid I will take cusotmers from them.

    This has been a horrible experience for me, and I was just wondering what I could do about all this. Do I have any type of recourse and if so I do I prove these things.

    This is a small private company with about 10 employees that makes about 30 to 40 million a year.

    Honest working person

  • #2
    You might indeed have a case. If you were terminated because of your race, that is discrimination, and you and your attorney should call the MCAD as soon as possible. If you weren't paid your benefits, then you and your attorney should report that to the AG's office, wage and hour division. Your description of the way they're handling your 401(k) also leads me to believe that there are also ERISA violations here, too. You and your attorney can file both suit for these, too. Lastly, if the company is violating the minority contracting rules, then you can file whistleblower complaints for those, and let the government agency deal with them.
    This post is by Philip Gordon, a Massachusetts employment attorney (

    This post is NOT legal advice. It is for general/educational information purposes only. You should not rely on this post if you are making decisions, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. This post may be considered "advertising" under the MA professional rules for attorneys.