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Delta-Lawyer
Delta-Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 3546
Experience:  In-House Counsel & Litigator
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Was terminated based on accusation of harming a child by her

Customer Question

Was terminated based on accusation of harming a child by her arms in the middle of my classroom were multiple teachers were around and 38 children present. The real story is the child was being disruptive as I was reading books and doing circle songs. She injured a friend I asked that they break up suggested she sit with a teacher because she was being rude to me and the group hours later was terminated. Assistant Director said she has no proof and can't imagine this happening but will listen to the child at this point unsure the girl is 4 or 5 years of age. They will not give me paperwork of any kind or my check but handed me a W2 instead of last check something appears to be wrong please help.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Delta-Lawyer replied 10 months ago.

I hope this message finds you well, present circumstances excluded. I am a licensed attorney with over a decade of experience handling matters of this nature. It is a pleasure to assist you today.

First, I need a little more information:

- Do you work in a public or private school?

- Is there an employee handbook which prescribes methods of discipline, termination and appeals?

- Are you a member of a teachers union?

I look forward to hearing back from you on this issue and working with you going forward.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Hi it is a private Montessori school.
Not that I know of I have a handbook but doesn't have a lot of information.
Not a member currently.
Expert:  Delta-Lawyer replied 10 months ago.

I am sorry for the later response. I was away from my computer. I appreciate the responses to my questions as they give me direction here.

First of all, they cannot legally hold your last check. They have no legal right to withhold money from you for hours you have worked. You can sue them based on that alone if you so choose.

Unfortunately, the termination (though unethical) is likely legal. It sounds like you were an at will employee. This means that you can be terminated for any reason, or no reason at all, believe it or not. That said, the employer cannot terminate you if the reason is discriminatory in nature. Moreover, you cannot be terminated based on your age, race, gender or disability. Furthermore, if other teachers have been involved in similar situations and have not been terminated, then you may have a case for discrimination if that teacher or those teachers fall into a different category than you.

If you feel as though you have been discriminated against you can file a complaint with the EEOC office in your area. They will investigate and if they find merit, will allow you to sue in federal court for damages. You have to file this complaint within 180 days of the date of your termination.

If you find out that they have breached their own policy in terminating you, then you can sue in state court for wrongful termination as well. You need a copy of the policy and procedure manual to make sure that is the case.

So, they cannot hold your last check and you should send them a certified letter with a return receipt which points that out. Give them three business days from the postmark to make it available or you will sue for it and damages as well.

They likely can terminate you in this manner, but cannot if it differentiates from treatment of other teachers in similar circumstances in the past that are not in the same classification as you (race, gender, etc.).

Let me know if you have any other questions or comments.

Please rate my answer positively (three or more stars) so I can receive credit for my work.

Best wishes going forward!

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