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  • Fired based on made up claims by 'witnesses'

    My boyfriend was recently fired from his job for being 'intoxicated' upon return from his lunch break. The incident apparently happened about 2 weeks before his boss pulled him into his office and said that he has 4 witnesses that claim that he smelled of booze when he returned from lunch one day a few weeks ago and fired him.

    The problem is that he doesn't drink. He spends his lunch hour in the gym every single day. Everybody who knows him knows that he doesn't drink. He was in a supervisory role over some minimum wage making kids who didn't like that he made them got off of their phones and do some work. It is our belief that these upstanding citizens are the 4 witnesses. We just cannot believe that nobody ever asked for his side of the story or whether he could prove that it was untrue (he could have--he had been at gym that day). They chose to believe what these kids said was true.

    Also, they never sent anybody to check on the situation on the day in question. His boss was out of town. I just think that if somebody is in a supervisory position and there are claims made that the person is intoxicated that situation should be handled right then and there. The person should not be allowed to finish their shift and then 2 additional weeks of work with no mention of the incident.

    So, after all of this we are worried because we don't even think he can get unemployment after the claims that his boss made. Also, every other job that he interviews for is going to think that he is a drunk. His boss put it in writing--that 4 witnesses claimed he was acting 'intoxicated' and smelled of booze--those were his exact words. It is all just so very frustrating because he really doesn't drink and we can prove that he was in the gym that day.

    Do we have a case in any of this? We have been told that it would need to be handled as a civil case against the witnesses that 'lied'... and that there is nothing else that can be done for him. I find that hard to believe since his boss ruined his chances of unemployment and possibly of finding another job without even trying to investigate the claims that were made or giving him a chance to defend himself.

    Please, any advise would be appreciated.

  • #2
    The work place is not a court of law & proof isn't required or giving the employee a chance to defend himself. In at-will employment you can be terminated at any time for any reason except a reason prohibited by law (ie age, religion, gender) or unless you have a binding employment contract or CBA to the contrary. It was not illegal for the employer/boss to believe the witnesses over your bf. A wrongful termination isn't being fired for something you didn't do - it's for being terminated due to a reason prohibited by law.

    Your bf should apply for unemployment ins. anyway - it never hurts to apply.
    Last edited by Betty3; 09-18-2009, 12:03 PM. Reason: spelling
    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

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    • #3
      Thanks for your response! It really is a frustrating situation--that an employer can deter the chance of future jobs that easily and that any person would do that to another without first finding out the facts. I wonder if they've even thought at all about what they've done to him with these accusations.

      And of course, even if we could take the witnesses to court and prove they were lying we would probably never see a penny--they don't have any money...

      Thanks again.

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      • #4
        There are some medical conditions that can cause someone who has not been drinking, to smell as if they have. You'd probably know if this was the case since you'd smell it too, but at the same time it can't hurt for him to check with his doctor.
        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
          We have been together for 2 years and he has never smelled like alcohol to me--he never drank alcohol either... T

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          • #6
            Well, like I said, it's a long shot - but it can't hurt to check, can it?
            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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            • #7
              Originally posted by sparker24 View Post
              Also, every other job that he interviews for is going to think that he is a drunk. His boss put it in writing--that 4 witnesses claimed he was acting 'intoxicated' and smelled of booze--those were his exact words.
              1. File for unemployment anyway. Based on the information you've provided, the boss can not say that he saw your boyfriend drunk - just that other employees made the allegation.

              2. If you can prove that this former boss is providing this information to potential employers preventing your boyfriend from getting another job, you may have a case for defamation. I'd recommend that you take the letter to an attorney specializing in labor law for review. If potential employers indicate to your boyfriend that they think he might be a drunk, that is an indicator for you. You might even be able to find one who will give you a statement on what he was told. If all else fails, having someone who would be a credible witness call posing as a potential employer may flush him out.

              3. Of course, it is always possible that this former boss is NOT repeating this information to anyone in which case it would not be affecting your boyfriend's ability to find another job. It could be that the situation has caused a little paranoia on your and your boyfriend's part, so whether the attorney feels you have a provable case or not, it is important to find out if the boss is doing what you feel, or not.
              Please post questions on the forum rather than sending me a private message or email. That way others who have similar issues have access to the discussion.

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