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"Let Go" for expressing concern Re: criminal I worked with! Utah

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  • "Let Go" for expressing concern Re: criminal I worked with! Utah

    I have been working at a small company for about 5 months and have recently been fired for expressing my concern/fear of working with a criminal (who is dating my boss) and who has made explicit sexual comments in my presence, which made me even feel more uncomfortable with my working situation and provoked me to look at public records regarding his background. I approached my employer a couple weeks ago regarding my concerns (and proof of his criminal background) and the next day (3 days before Christmas) I was "let go" and told that I was an excellent employee and that they would give a great reference to anyone who inquired. I said to my employer that I didn't want to start a job hunt for a job that I was only going to be able to keep for 6 months because of my pregnancy, she said "you should be able to find a job still, because you're not showing yet." I told her that she couldn't fire me for no reason and she told me that I'm not an employee and that I'm a contractor, so she could fire me at anytime. I told my employer that it's illegal to consider me a contractor and that when I was hired I was told that they would start deducting taxes from my paycheck at the beginning of the new year (their accountant had advised them that it would be best if they didn't start paying their employees through payroll until the beginning of the new year) and I agreed under those circumstances. When I mentioned this to my employer, she said that they were no longer going to change the circumstances and that she cannot afford the expenses of payroll, so she was going to continue to consider her employees "contractors". She again thanked me for all of my hard work, gave me a hug, and then I left (stunned)!

    Now correct me if I'm wrong, but don't you have to have your own business licence and tools to be considered a contractor? Also, if someone uses explicit sexual comments in front of you at a workplace, dont you have the right to be concerned for your safety. Can you make a comment that "at least your not showing yet?" (wouldn't that be considered a prejudice remark).

    Please give me your expert opinions!

  • #2
    You were an employee.

    The company can fire you at any time for any reason or no reason, so long as they don't fire you for an illegal reason.

    Complaining about sexual harassment is an illegal reason to fire you. I am not sure that what happened constitutes sexual harassment or that your complaint was one that would be protected by law.
    Senior Professional in Human Resources and Certified Staffing Professional with over 30 years experience. Any advice provided is based upon experience and education, but does not constitute legal advice.

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    • #3
      Now, if you were really fired because you were running unauthorized, unrequested and undesired background checks on fellow employees, I would have fired you too.

      You aren't Columbo. I run background (including criminal) checks on ALL employees. I don't need someone else trying to prove to me that I made a bad decision on a hire.

      I have already weighed that person's criminal history and decided to proceed. Your intervention was unnecessary.

      Now, if you were fired for either the sexual harrassment or because you are pregnant, you may have a case. If you were fired for investigating your fellow employees, no illegal termination is here.
      Not everything that makes you mad, sad or uncomfortable is legally actionable.

      I am not now nor ever was an attorney.

      Any statements I make are based purely upon my personal experiences and research which may or may not be accurate in a court of law.

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      • #4
        How small is this company? It makes a big difference. Also, what is your job as in duties? What type of comments were made? Were they directed at you? Did you explain to this person that they make you uncomfortable? Did you report them to anyone else in the company? Why do you think your pregnancy has anything to do with your termination?

        Those questions aside, running an unauthorized background check on the boss's paramour and reporting the results tends to be a career limiting move. There is no law that states they may not hire someone with an unsavory past.
        I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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