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Wrongful Termination or What? Florida

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  • Wrongful Termination or What? Florida

    Two days ago I was called into my boss' office and asked to submit my resignation. She commented that because of the items that we previously talked about on the Thursday preceding this action, I was being asked to leave. The situation, in my opinion probably warranted discussion, but was in no way agriegious enough to warrant dismissal. But that is not my call. There was no documentation of this conversation on Thursday. There was no previous documentation of any sort prior to that, that I am aware. I know that nothing had been inserted into my personnel folder, that I had signed.

    I was offered to be placed on "Special Assignment working from home", paid through the end of December with full benefits, if I would submit my resignation, effective immediately. I asked what if I declined. She said I would be terminated immediately with nothing. The Chair of the HR committee was in attendance at this meeting.

    Here is the rest of the story. In August I discovered some improprieties (fraud and waste) at work. We are a nonprofit funded with state government funds. I confronted my boss (CEO) with my concerns. She said she only had a couple of choices, but she did what she had to do. She mentioned that she had a conversation with her boss about it already (Chairman of the Board). At that point I wasn't certain that anyone else on the board knew and I knew that it would go no place if I reported to him. Wanting to try to protect the organization, I went to the Vice Chair of the board to see if she was aware. She was not. After going to the Chair, the vice chair was briefed and this forced the CEO to disclose her improprieties.

    The executive committee met, published their findings that clearly indicated the CEO was wrong. The chairman of the board met with all staff to explain and the first thing he said was that the CEO had informed him and that he was dealing with the situation in his own way until one employee went to another member of the board, forcing him to deal with the problem differently than he had been doing.

    The day after the meeting with the chairman, an email was sent to all staff reminding us that we are supposed to bring all issues of suspected wrongdoing to the CEO and if it involved the CEO, to the chair. This was, by policy, the only acceptable means of dealing with the situation.

    Since that meeting, it was announced that our organization will be audited by the state. And yesterday, I learned that the Attorney General's office is also visiting.

    I know, by virtue of my position, that other director level persons in the office have been counseled and written up and allowed time to repair. I have felt for some time that because I am male in a very female dominated environment, I was treated differently (as though I was a threat). These other people have had multiple incidences that in other situations could very well have led to dismissals.

    Not wanting to leave my family without a salary or medical care, I signed the letter of resignation, saying of course that it was requested.

    My questions:

    1) Is a forced letter of resignation the same as a termination?
    2) Does retaliation strengthen the case for wrongful termination?
    3) Does disparate treatment because I am a male in a female dominated industry strengthen or hurt my case?
    4) Should those two issues be treated as separate cases?


  • #2
    A termination is any separation from employment status. It's a voluntary termination if the employee initiates it; it's an involuntary termination if the employer initiates it.

    1. Generally speaking, when it comes to unemployment benefits "resign or be fired" is the same as "fired".

    2. Very possibly. It would be worth your while to speak with an attorney specializing in employment law.

    3. Neither. You would have to show that such disparate treatment was solely because of your gender.

    4. Probably. Again, a consultation with an attorney is probably called for.
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