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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 15472
Experience:  Employment/Labor Law Litigation
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I was just fired from my job for harassment. I was

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I was just fired from my job for sexual harassment. I was not given any details or even specifics as to what I supposedly said to offend this person. I was also never given an employee handbook or harassment policy by this employer (I did not harass anyone) I'm just addding that information. What type of recourse do I have against the company or the accusor since I do now know who the individual was?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 9 months ago.
Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I look forward to assisting you today. I bring nearly 20 years of experience in various legal disciplines.

Did you have a contract of employment stating that you could only be terminated for cause?

Do you have any reason to believe that you were really fired based on your race, religion, gender, age, disability or FMLA use?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

This is an at will emplyer.


 


I don't believe so but I do know the plant manager was looking for reasons to fire me.

Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 9 months ago.
In our country, in every state, every employer is an "at will" employer by default. The only way around that is to have a contract of employment, which is why I asked about whether or not you had one.

You don't, so your employment is "at will." That means that legally your employer can terminate your employment at any time, with or without cause. The cause doesn't even have to be accurate, it just can't be based on your race, religion, gender, age, disability or FMLA use. If the employer avoids those issues, the employer can legally terminate you, even for a false accusation of sexual harassment.

Now, the employer can't broadcast that false allegation as truth, because then the employer becomes subject to defamation claims. If they quietly terminate your employment, don't tell third parties about the issue (other than unemployment, who is third party privileged to hear their basis for termination) like prospective employers for you, then the employer can legally rely on a false accusation to terminate an "at will" employee.

So, your only recourse in that situation would be against the person that made the false accusation. I understand that you don't know who that is yet. What you should first do is file for unemployment. Force the employer to reveal exactly what was said by whom.

Then you'll be able to fight the issue to obtain your unemployment and you'll have the identity of your accuser so that you can bring your defamation of character lawsuit against that person.

If the employer chooses not to try and fight your unemployment, thereby not revealing the accuser, you can still sue a "Jane Doe" in state court and use the discovery process to force the employer, through subpoena, to reveal the source of the defamation.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

I just have a couple of questions just to clarify. I was not really allowed to defend against this claim in anyway. Does my employer have to allow me to defend against it?


 


How would I go about suing "Jane Doe" do I need to subpoena my employer after filing the suit?


 


Thank you

Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 9 months ago.
No, in an "at will" employment situation, they don't have to allow you to defend. Remember, they don't legally even need a reason to fire you. A requirement to allow you to defend suggests that they need a legal reason, when they don't.

To sue Jane Doe, you file a suit in state court alleging defamation of character with the person that you are suing as Jane Doe. You would have to explain, in the complaint, that the employer is a subject of interest, as they know who made the defaming statement and relied on it in their termination decision.

Then, during the "discover" process, which is the investigation phase in court actions, you would be permitted to subpoena the information from the employer through deposition.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 15472
Experience: Employment/Labor Law Litigation
Allen M., Esq. and 10 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

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