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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
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Experience:  All corporate law, including non-profits and charitable fraternal organizations.
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I was released from my job on October 29th, 2009. My former

Resolved Question:

I was released from my job on October 29th, 2009. My former employer said he wanted to go in a "different direction" even though in reality and fact I was doing everything that he had asked of me, which he acknowledged in my exit interview as well. I have two questions:
First, it has been over 30 days, and despite sending emails and phone correspondences they have failed to send me the required and necessary paperwork for C.O.B.R.A. I am afraid that their incompetence could cost me that option. What is my recourse for their failure to follow Federal Law?
Second, how difficult is it to prove a Wrongful Termination suit?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
The easiest first, if you believe you qualified for COBRA and the employer isn't now trying to say you were terminated for a reason that would disqualify you and the employer has failed to send you the paperwork, your recourse would be to file a complaint witht he State Department of Labor which oversees the COBRA matters and any penalties would be in the form of fines to the employer by the DOL and them forcing the employer to allow you access to the benefits.

Next, wrongful termination to most laymen means anytime they were terminated for something they do not think was proper, but in the legal field it has a much narrower meaning. Absent a written contract to the contrary, you are an at will employee. At will employees can be terminated for no reason or for any reason that is not based solely upon your age/race/sex/disability or in retaliation for reporting something you had a legal right to report to the employer. Other than these reasons the employer can fire you even for mistaken reasons. Your sole recourse against the employer, absent the discriminatory reasons, is in unemployment if they try to deny your benefits claiming you were fired for misconduct and in that case you would appeal the denial of benefits and you would seek to have unemployment find your termination without good cause, but all this does is get you benefits since the employer can still fire an at will employee without good cause.

If you have additional questions, please keep in mind that I do not know what you already know or don't know, or with what you need help, unless you tell me. Please consider that I am answering the question or question that is posed in your posting based upon my reading of your post and sometimes misunderstandings can occur. If I did not answer the question you thought you were asking, please respond with the specific question you wanted answered.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hey Paul,
Thank you for your answers. You definitely cleared up my second question, which I had kind of figured was the case, but I just need a little more clarification on the first question.
My former employer did respond to ONE email saying that they had paid my insurance for November and December, and that I owed them 35% (which falls under the ARRA attached to COBRA this year), but I know that I need the proper paperwork filed so I am protected from him just deciding to drop me. Which is why I am nervous from their failure to know and understand the laws they are supposed to be abiding by. Does their email change my recourse and can I still proceed to file a complaint if I need to?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
The issue is their providing the paperwork. If they paid Nov. and Dec. they may be delaying in getting you the COBRA paperwork, just because you file a complaint with the DOL does not make it formal. DOL will first contact the employer and find out why they did not send you the proper paperwork and try to mediate before turning it into official action. If you wait until it is too late, then your recourse becomes having to sue the employer with gets messy and takes a longer time and the benefits of such a suit really are not very lucrative.

If you have additional questions, please keep in mind that I do not know what you already know or don't know, or with what you need help, unless you tell me. Please consider that I am answering the question or question that is posed in your posting based upon my reading of your post and sometimes misunderstandings can occur. If I did not answer the question you thought you were asking, please respond with the specific question you wanted answered.

Also remember, sometimes the law does not support what we want it to support, but that is not the fault of the person answering the question, so please be courteous.

There can also be a delay of an hour or more in between my answers because I may be helping other customers or taking a break.

You can always request me through my profile at http://www.justanswer.com/profile.aspx?PF=10285032&FID=39 or beginning your question with “For PaulMJD…”



Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 88683
Experience: All corporate law, including non-profits and charitable fraternal organizations.
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