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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 18846
Experience:  Employment/Labor Law Litigation
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I was terminated over 2 weeks ago under a wrongful violation

Customer Question

I was terminated over 2 weeks ago under a wrongful violation of my USERRA rights and am currently attempting to explain to my employer where they are in the wrong, but they seem to be trying to make it as difficult for me as possible and will likely lead
to a lawsuit. They are big on local publicity and I considered contacting (or having a coworker who is equally angered by my companies disregard for service members) a local news company with my situation to put the same pressures and hardship on them they
are pushing on me. I've been troubled by them multiple times in regards ***** ***** leave and want the public to know how I've been treated. Will this negatively impact me down the road in any way or "backfire" on me?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

I think that going public with it first, before you've contact the Department of Justice to have then attempt to resolve this matter can look like you are more interested in publicity than resolution.

That's really the only potential backfire I see though, if you have the evidence to back your statements to the newspaper.

My concern with making anything public is the fear of a defamation lawsuit.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Would a defamation lawsuit be against me even if it was reported by a random person or coworker. I have a few more questions.they said if they re hired me I would be on a 9 month attendance probation, which is retaliation. And they seem to be trying to make it very difficult and I feel like if they offer me reemployment it will be with no back pay.If either or both of these things come up, should I1- "reject" (lack of a better term) their offer and try to ask for the backpay I'm entitled to and no probation. And if they decline should I just say I'm not comfortable with those conditions and go contact an attorney. Can they turn that into me turning down my job offered
Or
2-accept the job back and then pursue my back pay and no probation. Or could they consider that me accepting what they offered and I don't get those things.Also what should I do if they have any type of attorney/legal team member present?I was hoping to attempt to solve this issue at the lowest level, but because they will likely deny me what I'm entitled to, and they have been very disrespectful and treated me like someone who was in jail or just not coming into work as opposed to a soldier serving their country I wanted to possibly pursue more than my lost wages but could I pursue extra if they offer my job lost wages and no probation right from the start solely on the fact they violated my rights? Would contacting the DOJ be my first step in either instance?Last question.
The only thing I've found they could argue is I did not directly contact my human resources before my leaves. My termination was for absence time only.I notified my supervisor and the person incharge of scheduling with plenty of time to make arrangements. This topic was briefly brought up early on but I haven't heard about this issue again, the hr person told me it was policy to report directly to them once this issue started but according to the company handbook "employee must make arrangements with supervisor before going on duty..." is all it states under military leave time which I have done.I really appreciate all of your help on this subject. I have been very stressed dealing with this.
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Defamation only works if the statement is false. If it is reported anonymously, they'd be able to try and prove who said it, but without evidence, they couldn't force a paper to give them that information.

I would reject their offer as it is, in itself, another form of discrimination and state specifically to them that you outright reject their offer, but you'll include its retaliatory nature when you make your complaint to the Department of Justice. They can try to spin it, but retaliating against you after their on violation of USERRA just hurts them further. They are being stubborn and should pay for it.

Contacting the DOJ is your first step here. Then you don't have to worry about them having attorney teams. Let the DOJ handle this and then you can report the matter to the paper if you want. While I appreciate you wanting to handle this at the lowest level, when the employer doesn't want to follow the law, that's the worst thing you can do. Get the big guns in right now.

There is no requirement to directly contact HR. If you let your supervisors or management know...someone is responsible for you, you're fine.

If they offer everything back, lost wages and the job, you're probably not going to be able to have a suit against them for more. The DOJ will handle punishment. Suing them further is for when they completely reject responsibility.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
They are supposed to contact me tomorrow morning. I planned to record either the phone call or if they have me come in, the conversation. Do they have to consent to me recording or do I just have to tell them I'm recording it? Also they contact me through email. If for some reason they send information through email could that or the call/conference be used in my favor legally or do they have to consent to that also. Or is this all a bad idea.
And as far as defamation, so if they asked for my side of it, as long as all the statements given are true I will be ok
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Your state is a "one party" consent state, but you still should request permission to record. They are exceedingly unlikely to say anything damaging during the conversation though.

They don't have to consent and you can just state that you're going to take notes then.

If you are truthful, there is no defamation so don't worry about that.