Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.I am genuinely sorry to hear that you were terminated. Please allow me to respond to your issue with candor and directness. Nothing so far that you described pointed to any sort of a discriminatory intent. An employer can generally terminate anyone at any time without cause provided the termination is not based on factors such as race, gender, religion, national origin, creed, age, or disability if any. Terminating someone for being late is permitted if the employer did not allow the employee to be late. There is no obligation from the employer to have a warning, talk, or other disciplinary actions first, an employer could simply terminate. Not appearing at work on time is considered to be 'abandonment' and potentially because this lateness took place only 3 weeks after the position was started could make the employer believe that this potentially would be behavior that would continue. That decision, at least as you described form your facts, did not take place because of you age, gender, race, or other factors, it took place purely due to lateness. That, therefore, is permitted. My apologies but purely from this information I do not see enough to claim that there was viable discrimination taking place. Please be well.
Thank you for your follow-up, Sharekia.If you feel that I did not fully answer your question, please do not relist my answer as that delays my ability to respond. Please also be aware that I was simply going by your own information and posts, if there is additional information or factors that you did not list, I cannot take them into consideration when answering your question.To ensure I do not miss anything I will respond to each factor you listed in order and evaluate it based on your information.Being told that you are not a 'good fit' is not necessarily discriminatory although it could be. For example someone who comes from a state agency (public sector) to a private sector position may not always be a good fit because positions and cultures are so different. Similarly someone who is used or able to have flexible hours may not be able to now fit to the new entity. Those are just two potentially plausible reasons for not fitting in that have nothing to do with your race, gender, or other physical conditions. I am not stating those were the reasons, but they can be, which makes it harder to claim that the cause was discriminatory. Now, the conversation with superiors about black culture or her child may well be unprofessional and did not belong at the workplace. It is tough to claim that this was a cause for termination (or at least a factor) but it is a more plausible argument especially since that can potentially be shown that you could have been exposed to a hostile work environment. Before I can analyze the non-verbal actions I would need to know what they were, and simply getting looks or snarls does not mean necessarily that it was due to your race or gender, unless this company has no minorities or females working for it. it may be racial or it may simply be not liking a new individual--but at least that by itself is not enough to claim discrimination.Please understand that you can always choose to file regardless. But I assumed you asked if you had a good chance of prevailing. So far I do not see it because the underlying cause of termination was lateness, something that an employer could terminate over. And it makes a racial or gender claim far less likely because the termination took place so quickly after hiring--that generally works against a claim that the termination was somehow due to a protected status. Most discriminatory actions occur far later in the hiring and employment process, and here since you were still effectively on probation an employer has a far easier time in seeking disengagement of services.Good luck.
Thank you for your follow-up. Please allow me to respond to each issue. I will start with detrimental reliance. Detrimental reliance is a claim via equity that based on promises and actions taken by the other party, you relied to your detriment on their words and that you acted as a reasonable person by acting toward this agreement. For example if you decided to buy a Subway franchise and the corporate office told you that one of the conditions required you to go to their school for 6 months and learn the business, which you subsequently done. Then, after you properly finished the school, the refused to grant you a franchise--that could be detrimental reliance as you took active steps to get the agreement completed. There is no actual detrimental reliance. Yes, you quit your other job and went to work for them, but it is not as if you had to move across the country or take special classes solely for this job. Therefore there is no 'entitlement' here for them to keep you working, especially since you were working as an 'at-will' employee. I apologize but that is not going to work.As for being the only woman in the office, that may be a potential concern. If they had other women and other people of color working elsewhere (there is no requirement that they work for the same department, solely that they work for the company), it makes it harder to prove that there was discrimination but not impossible. It would require pulling their employee files and seeing who is hired, for how long, and whether there is a disparate impact against minorities who are either under-represented or are not permitted historically to remain with the company for a long period of time. This is not a simple answer and would require a full lawsuit to begin, and at least so far from your facts it is not a clear-cut case so I cannot in good conscience predict if that would be successful. What most do not tell you are that discrimination claims and suits are fairly tough to win because if an employer can show a legitimate reason for disciplinary action or termination, then it is no longer likely deemed discrimination. I am simply being realistic with you because it would be far easier for me to simply tell you that you have a case, make you happy, and then have you potentially loses. I, as a professional, cannot do that because it would be unfair to you and to your particular situation.Good luck.
xxxxxxxxxx,You are most welcome, and I mean that genuinely. I do hope that you are able to find a better position quickly and that you can put this behind you. Please be well and I wish you the best amount of success going forward.Sincerely,Dimitry, Esq.
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