How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask A.J. Your Own Question
A.J.
A.J., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 4300
Experience:  Licensed to practice law, I have experience in Employment, Appeals, and Landlord/Tenant Law
14926557
Type Your Employment Law Question Here...
A.J. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I work in a customer service area of a retail store. A male

This answer was rated:

I work in a customer service area of a retail store. A male customer has written to our home office and said that I profiled him as a Hispanic because I did not greet him as warmly as the customer before him. My immediate supervisor is on his side and has said that she knows I did not intentionally profile him. Doesn't that mean that she is siding with him. I know that I will be called into our directors office and will be quizzed again in person about the situation. I am at a loss of what to say. I do not profile individuals. I have been a high performer with this company for 10 years, yet I feel as if I have been found guilty.

SavyLawyer :

Hello, and thank you for contacting Just Answer. My name isXXXXX am an employment law professional, and I look forward to answering your question this evening.

SavyLawyer :

I am sorry that you are having to deal with such a difficult situation, and unfortunately there may not be much someone in your situation can do other than calmly and professionally explain your side of the story. If you did not "profile" someone then sometimes that is the best that you can say. The store is also in a tough position because, although they may believe you, they also have to take seriously any suggestion of racial discrimination (even where it is a he said/she said situation like the one you describe).

SavyLawyer :

I can certainly understand why you would feel as if you have been found "guilty", but it sounds as if you have not been let go yet. If there were no other witnesses to what this person claims, and it really is a he said/she said situation, your employer may be reasonable and listen to your side of the story, particularly in light of the fact that you have worked for the company for 10 years and never previously been accused of "profiling" in any way (I am assuming you have not).

SavyLawyer :

There are unfortunately no legal protections here that come to mind, an employer has the right to investigate an incident and, in the absence of an employment contract, act as they see fit to resolve the situation. Having said that, your years with the company and presumably no prior complaints should speak in your favor, and you should be free to raise those as part of your "defense".

SavyLawyer :

In Illinois, an employee is employed "at-will" in the absence of an employment contract, and as such the employer has the right to change the terms and conditions as they see fit, without cause or notice. Unfortunately this means that, so long as the employer is not discriminating against you because of YOUR race, religion, national origin, sex, age or disability, they are at liberty to resolve the situation as they see fit. Consequently, being honest, explaining what happened from your perspective, and raising the fact that you have never had such an issue in your 10 years with the company, may ultimately be the only thing that you can do.

SavyLawyer :

I hope this helps, and let me know if you require any additional information or need clarification of anything that I have said (never be afraid to ask for clarification!). Otherwise, please remember to RATE my answer so that I can receive credit for my work.

Customer: If I am going to get fired for this, how do I protect myself when looking for my next job? Will this follow me?
SavyLawyer :

That is a good question. If you were to be fired, you want to make sure that you have documented your side of the story and that it was given to the employer. That way, they have to be careful when talking to any prospective employers, because if they were to provide false or misleading information about you, you could turn around and file suit for defamation. One way to protect yourself, if you are let go, is to confirm with them what they will say if any prospective employer contacts them. You could also have an attorney communicate with them and explain that you will consider taking action against any defamatory statements made about you to prospective employers. It may also be a good idea to seek out a referral from someone within the company who you have a good relationship with. There is no sure fire way to protect yourself, but one way is to make sure that, if you are let go, they are either willing to provide a positive reference or, if they are not, they understand that you will consider any negative information given about you as defamatory.

SavyLawyer :

It is a tough situation to be in, and I am sorry you are having to deal with it. Let me know if I can provide any additional information or clarification. Otherwise, please remember to RATE my answer so that I can receive credit for my work.

Customer: I do feel that I will be released. Am I better off to resign first
Customer: Will I be able to collect unemployment insurance if released from my job? Wll I be able to collect unemployment if I resign?
SavyLawyer :

If an employee voluntarily leaves employment, then generally no, they may not receive unemployment. If, on the other hand, an employee is let go, then they may receive unemployment, yes. One potential caveat, is that if an employee is let go for "cause", meaning the employer had a good reason to fire someone, then the employer can contest the unemployment. However, in that situation, the employee has the right to an appeal and hearing in front of an administrative law judge, and is given the opportunity to explain that they were not let go for good cause (or in your case that there was no actual evidence of misconduct).

SavyLawyer :

So, in short, resigning likely disqualifies an employee from unemployment, whereas being let go should qualify you unless the employer contests the unemployment on the grounds that you were let go for "cause". You would then have to appeal and explain to an administrative law judge how your being let go was not actually your fault.

SavyLawyer :

The Illinois Department of Employment Security has pretty good information on unemployment benefits at:

SavyLawyer :

http://www.ides.illinois.gov/

SavyLawyer :

I hope this helps further, and let me know if you have any additional questions. Otherwise, please remember to RATE my answer so that I can receive credit for my work.

A.J. and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you