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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 88823
Experience:  20+ Years of Employment Law Experience
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I was recently fired for a customer complaint that was no fault

Customer Question

I was recently fired for a customer complaint that was no fault of my own. The customer called and complained that I identified him as a terrorist. When approached about he situation, I was asked if I had made the comment. I told the General manager I did not. I only remember saying that a customer reminded me of someone I knew. Ignoring my answer, the manager told me that he could not have complaints of such and was forced to relieve me of my duties. He also said that I had accumulated 2 prior complaints that were not investigated also.
     The first being an aggravated customer who claimed that I was ignoring him when I was simply taking a call in order. There was another cashier behind me rolling plastic wear who witnessed my actions. When I finally got finished with the order I asked the customer if I could help him. He then began to yell at me saying I knew he was there the who time and I was ignoring him. I apologized to him, by saying I did not see him standing there I was taking a call in order and I am sorry if may seemed that I was ignoring him but I will be glad to take his order now. He continued to yell insultingly at me then asking for the manager. I called the Manager to help the customer. He made the complaint and I was asked to have a talk with the manager in the office. He told me what the customer had said and that it would not be tolerated and that I was to be sent home the day. He didn’t ask me my side or if there were any witnesses to verify his story. I told him that it was unfair to me as an employee to not have the chance to tell my side or to know that there were people that were there who could verify the customers problem was untrue. I was told that my side was not to be heard and that the manager had seen the whole situation when there were employees who could verify that was untrue. I then called the VP of company operations and made a complaint. He said that he will have a talk with them and will get back with me. The next day, that manager came to me saying that he talked to the VP and that nothing has changed, he will stand by his decision and that is it.
     The second customer complaint came from a women who claimed that I was rude to her by asking her if she could speak up. The an employee had come to me to ask what I had done a customer for her to complain. I did not know. When she showed me the customer I remembered I asked her if she could speak a little louder I couldn’t hear her. The next day the manager came to me and said I just wanted to tell you you got another complaint. He said he didn’t say anything because he knew it wasn’t important, that he know it is hard to satisfy every customer. He told me what she had said, and I admitted that it was true that had asked her to speak a little louder.
     Non of these complaints were written out, signed by a manager or my self or even investigated. Instead, I was singled out. The employees who could verify the complaints as false were ignored. I have been with the store since it opened in Nov. 2007 and have been very generous to stay over time or come in on days that I am off. I have been harassed by my coworkers because of my pregnancy and have been treated like an outcast when complaining about chemicals that would make a Pregnant women sick, like Clorox. I am now 7 months pregnant and have no means of raising my child and paying student loans, car loans, utilities and phone bills. Do I have a case.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 5 years ago.
Unfortuately, absent any written contract of employment you are an at will employee and absent proof of discrimination against you because of your pregnancy/sex/race/disability, you will have very little if no recourse at all. As far as the "harrassment" over complaining about the chemicals that make you sick, this is a weak, but potential claim for hostile environment/harrassment based upon pregnancy/sex and before you can sue on it you must first make a complaint to the state commission on human/civil rights and the EEOC and they have to investigate to determine your right to sue.

Absent the discrimination claim, I am afraid you really have no other action you can bring as an at will employee if you were terminated over the customer's false complaint. However, if the complaint was false or unproven and you are denied unemployment, you should file an appeal because such complaints are not sufficient grounds to deny unemployment benefits, but it will still not get you your job back.


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