I am a Director of Counseling and Wellness at Culver-Stockton College in Canton, MO. I have been in my position since Jan. 08. When I was hired, I was hired with a great deal of support and professional respect from my immediate supervisor, the Dean of Student Life. However, we have disagreed on areas of confidentiality and expectations of my job. There is a job description that I have fulfilled almost completely and some it requires time to fulfill. My supervisor has written 2 vindictive letters and told the Dean of the College that I'm not doing my job. I have been in a couple of meetings with the Dean to defend myself. I have not been given an official verbal or written warning about the problems that could lead to termination. The staff handbook states that there should be a written warning and an yearly evaluation. My first evaluation was excellent and I haven't received this year. Do I have enough grounds to take legal action?
I have looked online for individual lawyers but am overwhelmed by options.
What specifically do you want to know?
I would like to take legal action because I feel this is more of a personal conflict rather than my job performance. I would like to know what direction I need to take.
The handbook has mixed messages about termination. One section says that it is a free will contract where both parties can terminate at any time for any reason or for no reason at all. But in another section, it states that an employee can't be terminated on job performance without a verbal and written warning. My job has been verbally threatened unofficially but I never received written warning that my job performance was insufficient. I received a great evaluation at the end of the 2007-2008 academic school year and haven't received my yearly evaluation for this school year.
When they asked me to do something, I did it unless it was a violation of my code of ethics or state law. I have gone above their expectations but they haven't acknowledged what I have done and actually aren't even aware of the projects I have been working on because they won't talk to me.
I've had colleagues and a supervisor that "shun" me by not even acknowleding my presence and in fact, completely go out of their way to not talk to me. I've sat in staff meetings where the favored employees sit next to the supervisor and have private jokes while the rest of us sit as spectators. I've been accused of not doing my job but given no opportunities to talk about why I made the decisions I made.
Does this information help? Or do you need more?
If the manual expressly requires a warning, even given the inconsistency you mentioned, the employer should honor it and the inconsistency would be read in favor of the employee. You can complain to the department of labor but likely need to involve local employment counsel to negotiate your reinstatement and/or a severance.
Where do I go to get the specific help I need? Is there a specific lawyer or legal agency that I need to go to? In other words, do I need to go to an employment lawyers or education focus lawyer or an organization like the ACLU(not sure if this is correct). I'm in a small town, so do I need to look at the closest big city which is St. Louis or a medium size town like Hannibal?
You would need an employment lawyer in your area which you can find on www.martindale.com
Licensed attorney helping employers and employees
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