I was fired after 5 years with JCPenney in the state of Florida for 2 things. First, suggesting employees answer surveys at home in order to more accurately reflect (not inflate) our customer service score. Once I was told by my Store Manager that others were fired for this I immediately stopped. Second, for making a tongue-in-cheek joke about ringing other department products under our department/class. I tried to show that the actual ringing never occurred, it was a joke! They said they had proof, but would not produce any.In 5 years I have never had a write-up or a bad review. I have successfully increased business every year for JCPenney. Can they fire me with no prior issues? Do I have an rights here? I am embarrassed, humiliated, in emotional pain, and now in a bad economy have no job! Please help me.
State/Country relating to question: Florida
It has only been one week. Just looking for a job so far.
Hello and welcome,I am very sorry to hear of your difficult situation.Did you have an employment contract with the company?
Do you have any reason to believe you may have been discriminated against on the basis of your race, age (40 or older), gender, disability, or other protected status?
No employment contract. The only issue that comes to mind is my salary, which is currently high for JCPenney given the recent layoffs and drop in business (except in my department). Business associates that are familiar with my work ethics are alarmed, and agree that it may have been JCPenney's only way to get rid of me in order to hire someone at a lower salary rate.
I see.It is not illegal to terminate an employee because the employer wishes to hire someone at a lower salary rate typically. In fact, without an employment contract, the employment at will doctrine would normally govern the employment relationship, such that the employer or employee could terminate the relationship at any time without notice or good cause. It is a very harsh result, but it is the law most states have adopted.Unless you can point to evidence of prohibited discrimination, such as discrimination based on race, gender, age, disability, or other violation of law, there would normally be no legal recourse against the employer.Because there does not appear to be good cause for your termination, you should file a an application for unemployment benefits normally. If they cannot prove that good cause existed to terminate you, the application should typically be approved by the unemployment commission.I am very sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but there would not normally be a basis to pursue legal action against the employer unless one of the exceptions to the employment at will doctrine exists, such as discussed here.
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Thank you for your help.
You are welcome. Again, I am sorry I could not provide a more favorable answer for you. The law leads to some very unjust results in employment relationships. I would be sure to file for unemployment benefits promptly though, so there is some safety net while you look for another job.Good luck to you and take care.
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