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was this wrongful termination? speak with eeoc?...thanks California

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  • was this wrongful termination? speak with eeoc?...thanks California

    So I started a job in February 2013 and was recently terminated due to unsatisfactorily performance. The termination was 3 days after speaking with the HR Director. I met with HR over alleged racial discrimination with a white supervisor.

    The reasons listed as unsatisfactory:
    1) at one point over the past 8 months there wasn't enough paper in a copier; (yes)
    2) not submitting subcontractor agreements to accounting; keep in mind they were due in September 2012 and the white employee responsible for the agreements is still employed with the organization;
    3) not being able to edit a picture in MS Word (although Word isn't a graphics program);
    4) not listing "barriers" that I experienced with my work daily;

    Another interested thing is that the organization has a progressive disciplinary process and the they didn't follow it. And I had no conversations with HR about performance prior to the termination.

    I'm assuming this would be a classic case of retaliation. thx!!

  • #2
    Not knowing the full story, it is impossible to say whether your termination was in retaliation for your complaint or not and whether it was legal or due to some discrimination. Running it by an attorney can't hurt, but it is far from a slam dunk. Typically internal complaints are not protected by whistleblower laws and even in the rare cases that they are, the nature of the complaint and the exact wording and who knew about it makes a huge difference. It is more likely than not that HR didn't make the decision to fire. It is totally unknown whether the person who did make the decision even knew you went to HR or the exact nature of your complaint, assuming you were very clear about it being on the basis of race and not just unfair.

    Unless there is a union or contract in place, companies do not have to follow their disciplinary procedures. It would also be somewhat unusual to use that policy if it is a case of just not being suited to the job and unsatisfactory performance. You had only been there a short time and it sounds like there are a few issues going, so they may have just felt it best to cut their losses. If your race was an issue, likely you wouldn't have been hired in the first place and that is going to be a rather large obstacle to overcome if you do file a complaint.
    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.


    • #3
      In at-will employment you can be terminated at any time for any reason except a reason prohibited by law (examples-religion, race, gender) or unless you have a binding employment contract to the contrary. If it isn't in a binding employment contract, there are exceptions to an employer following their usual disciplinary process.

      If you believe you were terminated due to your race, you can file a complaint with the Ca. Dept. of Fair Employment & Housing as long as your employer has at least 5 employees.
      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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