Complete Labor Law Poster for $24.95
from www.LaborLawCenter.com, includes
State, Federal, & OSHA posting requirements

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

wrongful termination Washington

Collapse
This topic is closed.
X
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • wrongful termination Washington

    I was a retail manager who got fired for breach of a code of ethics policy.
    Specifically, I accepted a wedding gift (as I recently married) from a customer worth around $80. Though, the policy states that I AM allowed to accept gift of nominal value (though anything valued $100 or more requires corporate approval), the policy also states that I cannot accept any gift that could create or APPEAR to create an obligation to the donor may NOT be accepted.

    I understand that they can fire me for suspicion alone and not be wrongful in my termination.

    My question is:
    If co-workers of mine had actions equal in suspicion (for accepting gifts), that corporate WAS aware of.... and these employees were not fired...
    Is that wrongful termination?

    If 10 people behave exactly the same and only I am penalized severly, I feel as though I am being discriminated against over them.

    Can anybody enlighten me?

  • #2
    There's a lot more to this case, for which I believe most of would help my case.
    (possible defamation of character)
    However, if based on the imformation I provided above I do not have a strong case it is all likely a mute point.

    FYI: I am 62 years old, and my on the job performance was not an issue as I had never once been in previous trouble or recieved any warnings, called in sick 0 times in nearly 8 years, and all of my annual performance reviews were outstanding and my store was performing at the highest level since it opened in the 90's.
    Last edited by joeshaney; 08-01-2011, 01:26 PM. Reason: typo

    Comment


    • #3
      This was not a wrongful termination.

      The employer does not have to treat all employees the same way, I'm afraid.

      I also see no illegal discrimination.

      Sorry.

      Comment


      • #4
        It would not be illegal discrimination unless you were discriminated against due to
        a reason prohibited by law (ie age, religion, gender...).

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/At-will

        http://employeeissues.com/wrongful_termination.htm

        Based on what you posted, this was not a wrongful termination.
        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


        • #5
          Perhaps your company was tired of people bending the rule so they decided to make an example of you? As a manager you are held to a higher standard than lower level employees.

          How do you know that other employees were not disciplined for their actions?

          Comment


          • #6
            Sorry but in the world of retail management, these types of policies are pretty standard and legal. Unless other managers of the same level as you and reporting to the same managers were known to accept gifts of equal value and not be fired AND the reason you were fired was because of a legally protected characteristic, it is entirely legal.

            Accepting a gift worth $80 from a client would get you fired at most places. Whether it would influence your dealings with that party or not, it certainly gives the appearance that it would.
            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.

            Comment


            • #7
              Agreed with the other answers. I worked for a company in the 1980s where this stuff had gotten WAY out of hand. I had an AP clerk (reporting to me) who was taking bribes to move up payments for certain vendors. We had buyers getting commissions from vendors. We had Traffic and Purchasing fighting over who controlled the lumber purchases (big money annually) so they could get the kick backs. We had a freight company build a new addition on the Traffic Manager's house in exchange for our business. We (correctly) fired the Purchasing Manager for taking bribes/commissions/kick-backs from vendors. One of the steel companies sued us to try to recover prepaid commissions they paid our Purchasing Manager to not do his job. Then my favorite was the HR department wanted a new office, but could not get it approved. So they had one of their vendors pay for the work in exchange for padding future invoices.

              Strange place. We had to fire a lot of people to get rid of the "everyone does it" attitude in regards to corruption. My very first assignment there when hired was to help rebuild the financial records that the previous management had destroyed over the weekend. The problem is that they did not get rid of enough people the first time.

              What the OP describes is obviously much less of an issue. I have worked for places where they would have had a formal declaration of the gift, but it otherwise would not have been a big deal. On the other hand, I have worked for places where HR would have insisted that all gifts (say a box of chocolate at year end) go to them for distribution (generally to them).

              Like the other answer said, as long as Title VII is not involved (decisions made for race, gender, national origin, et al), it is legal to selectively enforce this sort of thing. You have to start somewhere. Worse, it is legal for management to make bad/stupid decisions.
              "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
              Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

              Comment


              • #8
                Agreed with the other answers. I worked for a company in the 1980s where this stuff had gotten WAY out of hand. I had an AP clerk (reporting to me) who was taking bribes to move up payments for certain vendors. We had buyers getting commissions from vendors. We had Traffic and Purchasing fighting over who controlled the lumber purchases (big money annually) so they could get the kick backs. We had a freight company build a new addition on the Traffic Manager's house in exchange for our business. We (correctly) fired the Purchasing Manager for taking bribes/commissions/kick-backs from vendors. One of the steel companies sued us to try to recover prepaid commissions they paid our Purchasing Manager to not do his job. Then my favorite was the HR department wanted a new office, but could not get it approved. So they had one of their vendors pay for the work in exchange for padding future invoices.

                Strange place. We had to fire a lot of people to get rid of the "everyone does it" attitude in regards to corruption. My very first assignment there when hired was to help rebuild the financial records that the previous management had destroyed over the weekend. The problem is that they did not get rid of enough people the first time.


                Holy cow! And I feel guilty for even being offered tickets to a sports event by a vendor (which I always turn down.)

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have done a fair amount of internal audit work over the years. While cash gets most of the attention, all the really "good" scams involve buyers. Just pay more then the thing is worth and have the other company pay you a commission. Run it through a DBA if you are smart. You can audit both companies books but the cash looks clean. I have worked for companies where buyers never buy their own lunch, get free vacations and other perks from their vendor's sales people but would get very offended if you suggested that they were doing anything wrong. I had one buyer tell me that is someone wants to give with a widescreen TV, that is none of his employer's business. Of course, if the buyer was really doing his/her job, no one would be giving them widescreen TVs. Sales people court buyers. The more expensive the product being sold, the more expensive the "stuff" that gets thrown at buyers. I generally have AP report to me, and you would not believe some of the fully approved **** you see on sales person's expense reports.

                  Now I generally also have payroll reporting to me, and ADP (our payroll service) generally sends us a really big box of chocolate each X-mas. I generally set it out open in payroll and send an "all hands" email to Finance and watch the piranha strip the box in a few seconds. I really have had HR argue that this is a violation of company "no gift" rules. Whatever Although I note that if I gave them the box, they would do the same thing with it.
                  "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
                  Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    What if I were to say that I am near retirement age (2 years away).
                    That me, an assistant store manager was fired for accepting a gift (and a lower ranked Supervisor accepted a gift of equal value).

                    When I was fired they told me that as an assistant manager I should know better.
                    However, the (younger) supervisor who did precisely the same thing (accepted a gift of even greater value than I did) was promoted to replace me. (Why would they promote this supervisor when she did the exact same thing that I was fired for doing?)

                    Also, my store manager (who is willing to vouch for me, if need be) has told me that during my annual review he graded me at an above expectations rating, but his superior forced him to reduce my rating down to competant and then shortly after forced him to lower it another rating to below expectations (giving me no raise for a second straight year, though the store overall graded as the most improved in the entire district). This rating is unfounded as my manager has told me that my performace was excellent and that on 4 seperate occasions his boss has discussed an interest in firing me.

                    I feel like the company has it in for me because I am nearing retirement (the store manager, my boss agrees).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Being near retirement age is irrelevant unless the sole reason you were terminated was that you are over 40. The fact that you are higher on the org chart than another employee is a valid and legal reason to treat you differently than a lower ranked employee. In fact, many businesses do make a distinction between the rank and file or those who have no authority over decisions based on gifts and managers and or those who do have the ability to give preference to others.

                      The review is also irrelevant and there is nothing you can do about it. There is no legal standard for what constitutes average or above average performance.

                      If you are 26, then the ADEA does not apply to you anyway.
                      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.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Sorry, 26 was a typo....


                        I understand that they treat people differantly who are in differant position as they told me that at the time of my dismissal.

                        The main issue I have is that if they fire me "because I should have known better"
                        then immediately replace me with somebody else who clearly also "did not know any better than I did" and they were fully aware of both of our actions....

                        Then clearly they are lying about why I was fired.
                        If they simply fired me for poor performance it'd be one thing, but to immediately replace me with somebody who they are fully aware did the same thing they fired for makes me feel like they were being discriminatory.

                        I am no law expert so it would seem from the responses that I am mistaken.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Termination law is never DIY. It is always talk to a local attorney face-to-face.

                          Short answer, IF you can PROVE to a judge that you were terminated BECAUSE you are 62, THEN you have a wrongful termination claim.

                          However, other then that obvious statement, you really, really need to take to a local attorney who specializes in these things. Saying something is true and actually proving it is two very different things. Also, this assumes that you actually know the reason you were terminated. You might not. There are a lot of very bad supervisors/managers out there who make random decisions. Plus the employer might have an actual real reason they can document. I am not saying that they do, but I am saying that you are guessing as to your employer's motives.
                          "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
                          Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            You accepting a gift as an Asst Mgr and a lower ranking person accepting a gift are not equal. The company may have discliplined the lower ranked person and now feels they are qualified to have the Assistant Manager position.

                            However you, by accepting the gift, have shown you are not qualified for the Assistant Manager position. It sounds like you knew the rule but violated it any way.

                            Keep in mind that what your boss told you about his thoughts on your termination may not be what he remembers when you try to file a lawsuit. His self protection of his position may overwhelm any desire to assist you if you sue.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Even if unfair and I don't necessarily agree that it is, why do you think it must be your age that is the real reason? Why is that the only possible explanation? Has anyone in authority made disparaging remarks about your age? You were much older when hired so it seems unlikely that suddenly your age is an issue.

                              What is acceptable conduct when you are the Asst. Manager for the store is not the same as acceptable conduct when you are not. Given that this type of policy is extremely common and the vast majority of employers would have acted exactly as yours did, I think you are going to have a very uphill battle to prove that there was any other motive involved. You are always welcome to talk it over with a lawyer.
                              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.

                              Comment

                              The LaborLawTalk.com forum is intended for informational use only and should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for legal advice. The information contained on LaborLawTalk.com are opinions and suggestions of members and is not a representation of the opinions of LaborLawTalk.com. LaborLawTalk.com does not warrant or vouch for the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any postings or the qualifications of any person responding. Please consult a legal expert or seek the services of an attorney in your area for more accuracy on your specific situation.
                              Working...
                              X