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Terminated for not breaking the law New York

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  • Terminated for not breaking the law New York

    I was employed for a company that manages a dormitory out of Brooklyn. As part of my duties I was required to do 'rounds' which meant that I was to check floors and make sure no unruly behavior was going on IE: Drinking, smoking and such. Since I worked the overnight shift I was also told by my manager that I was required to BOLT the front sliding doors. Now the students could only get in with a keycard and could leave only when the motion sensor at the front door sensed them and would automatically open. There was also a sign on the front door in big red letters that said in emergency doors could be pushed open. BUT when I BOLTED them shut there is absolutely no way to open those doors short of breaking through very thick glass.

    Now I'm a licensed FireGuard and also have worked in over 6 different large buildings over the years and am almost positive that locking those doors as unable to open from within is a major fire hazard. When I worked in buildings that required the front entrance doors to be locked at night there was always a latch or lever to open the door from INSIDE to get out if necessary. But this was not the case here. Aside from which there are about 200 students residing there, half of which smoke, others with candles and alot who get rowdy and do stupid things when drunk. The fire departments already been there twice for alarms going off during the day. FURTHERMORE there are no other fire exits, the building used to be a retirement home and there are fire exits in the basement but since its been converted the doors to the basement have been sealed shut.

    Therefore I was being told to do something that I personally felt is immoral and probably illegal, especially since several times I'm detained doing rounds more than 10 minutes because I have to break up parties, leaving students blocked in and waiting for me because I've BOLTED the front exit doors. If something god forbid happened while I'm walking around the stairwells thats where they would find the pile of bodies. I told her outright that I blatantly refuse to BOLT those doors and 2 days ago as soon as my probationary 3 month period passed she fired me and gave me a typed note signed and on company letter head identifying the reason I was being terminated was for refusal to lock the front doors. In 3 months was never tardy, always early and never missed a day and did the job to the best of my ability.

    I've already contacted Fire Prevention here in NY and they said they would be sending an inspector to check the doors. And several people told me that BOLTING those front doors any time of day is illegal and in fact the person on duty told to do it might be arressted for it as well as the manager who told them to do it.

    I'm also contacted the DOL but was on hold for over an hour and gave up.
    Now my questions is this. Because I was terminated for not doing something illegal and I have it in black and white on company letter head with the managers signature at the bottom, what is my recourse?


  • #2
    See an attorney regarding the possibility of a wrongful termination case based on violation of public policy. Not saying this is a slam dunk, but it can't hurt to get a professional opinion from a lawyer versed in employment law in your state.

    Of course, file for unemployment if you have not already done so.
    Last edited by Pattymd; 03-19-2009, 10:00 AM.
    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


    • #3
      Dan, as a former firefighter, I give you a big high five! Safety first and may those that disregard the safety of others go to hell!
      I don't believe what I write, and neither should you. Information furnished to you is for debate purposes only, be sure to verify with your own research.
      Keep in mind that the information provided may not be worth any more than either a politician's promise or what you paid for it (nothing).
      I also may not have been either sane or sober when I wrote it down.
      Don't worry, be happy. is a good resource!


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