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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 19693
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Employment Law
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After 14 yeas of service I was told my employment a the maintenance

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After 14 yeas of service I was told my employment a the maintenance supervisor was being terminated because the company was going a different direction. HR wouldnt say anything more than its over theres nothing thing to discuss. My bosses only comment was youre not livng up to my expectatons but never said was those were and wouldnt allow me to stp down to being just a mechanic again eventhough we only had a temporary worker in the position at that time. He also never offered any additional training to meet his expectations. They didnt follow company policy for terminating someone which is a verbal warning, written warning, suspension, action plan and then termination. I was only given a verbal warning once in 14 years by this new manager that didnt want me to return from my back fusion surgery. I can get my former manager to testify him saying I didnt fit into his plan while I was out on disibility. He never wanted me to reurn from surgery. Every employee whos gone out on disability has been allowed to return on light duty or allowed to work a half day. My manager fought to bring me back and he wouldnt allow it. I was also still on handicap status when they let me go. Even though I was considered an at will employee does it sound like i have a wrongful termination or discrimination case?

Thank you for the information and your question and I am sorry to read about your situation. However, I will need a bit more information in order to properly assist you. First, can you clarify whether or not you were on FMLA when you were let go, or had you used up your FMLA (or didn't qualify because the employer was too small)? If not on FMLA had you asked HR for a reasonable accommodation under the ADA by way of either reduced/light duty or extension of leave time. Finally, are you saying that the disciplinary steps you mentioned are in writing and apply in every case, regardless of the reason, or does it only apply to cases for termination for cause?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I had not applied for FMLA yet this year but was on FMLA the two years before the surgery.The disiplinary steps are in writing but Im not sure if they apply in every case, I have a feeling it only applies if the employee is being disiplined. So if your an at will employee they can just release you without justification?

Hello again and thank you for the information, although I don't see where you answered all of my questions. In any event, I will attempt to answer you without that necessary information.

Yes, under an employment "at will" scenario an employer can terminate an employee for any, or no, reason and with no notice or warning unless the termination would violate an employment contract, company policy, or employment discrimination law. So, unless an employee's situation fell within one of those exceptions, their employer could be as arbitrary and unfair as they deem appropriate and there would be no violation of the law.

However, you raised two issues that fall within the exceptions. One is company policy and the other is your disability. I can guess whether one or both of those issue might operate to create a wrongful termination claim for you since I don't have all of the necessary facts. But I can say that I think you have raised enough of an issue that I think it would be worth your time to sit down with a local employment law attorney and discuss all of the facts of your case. That would include your employment history, company policies and practices when it comes to discipline and termination, your health issues, and exactly what transpired in your case from your medical absence to your termination.

Even if the discipline steps did not apply in your case, there is an issue of why you were not put on FMLA and whether or not your employer denied you a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. So, again, I would encourage you to sit down face to face with a local attorney and decide what options you have and what you will do. You do not want to delay in doing so, since any disability discrimination complaint that you would have to file either with the State or the EEOC have very short deadlines--180 days and 300 days respectively, so important to decide what your strategy will be.

Please let me know if you need any clarification. I would be glad to assist you further if I can.
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