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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 11959
Experience:  JD, MBA
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I was wrongfully terminated at my company I was employed

Customer Question

I was wrongfully terminated at my company for which I was employed for 16 years. The termination was based on the fact that I was alleged that I had threatened another employee with a voice mail whom I don't even know. I was trying to make peace between two male adults whom where having a conflict. The voice message was sent to my company and they terminated me immediately. My Union is fighting for me. I've been Targeted, harassed, intimidated, and discriminated upon by Management. No one's done anything about all this. The EEOC has been informed my Union as well. The alleged threat goes as follow: "Stay your ass in your lane, or you will have a problem, "that type of shit will get your ass whooped", "be done with before you get your ass whooped", "Stay your ass in your lan alright, or you get f**ked up". I never met this person and don't even know this person, never talked to this guy on the phone. Southwest Airlines states that I violated the Workplace Violence Prevention Policy, which prohibits actions or words that endanger or harm another individual, or result in that individual having a reasonable belief that he or she or someone else is in danger. This includes but is not limited to making threats of physical violence, intimidation that has a connection to Southwest or affects our workplace, bullying, abusive or intimidating conduct exhibiting acts of hatred or similar behavior and threats on social media. This happened on or overnight at the hotel restaurant. I was just trying to keep the "Peace". Being a peacemaker and metaphorically making a statement. I never once said that "I will do any of this". I was trying to give some advice to a person whom was conflicting with a co worker that I know who was in "Distress". My Union knows that I have a case due to all of this. I really want my job back, but feel as though I'm going to have to go to real court to settle this matter. What advice do you have for me to do?
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 7 months ago.

Hello and thank you for the opportunity to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I'll be glad to help if I can. However, I am unclear as to the facts. Are you stating that you didn't leave the voicemail, or that you did leave the voicemail? You mentioned that you didn't actually meet or speak to the recipient of the voicemail, but you also mentioned that you were trying to keep the peace, which indicates that you did involve yourself with the recipient in some manner. So, if you could clarify, then I would greatly appreciate it.

Also, why is the EEOC involved? You mentioned that you were "Targeted, harassed, intimidated, and discriminated upon by Management." What exactly do you mean? What did management do, and why ... i.e., were you harassed, etc., because of a factor such as race, religion, gender, disability, etc.?

Thank you.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I did leave a voice mail to this guy but it was delivered by my co workers cell phone
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 7 months ago.

Hello again.

Did you leave the voicemail stating those things that you quoted ("Stay your ass in your lane, or you will have a problem," etc.)?

Also, do you have a response to my EEOC question?

Thanks again.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
metaphorically making a statement
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Never said that I would do this. Just generally speaking on how some people that are threatened, bullyed, etc. Possibly take matters in they're own hand and situation like this may or may not happen.
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 7 months ago.

Hi again.

So you did leave the voicemail. And why is the EEOC involved?

Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 7 months ago.

You also mentioned that you've been speaking to an attorney. What does he say about this?

Also, is the union doing anything on your behalf?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
No I filed a complaint to the EEOC. Due to the fact that the Company's management have been targeting me, harassing me, etc. It's has cause me anxiety and paranoia when I'm at work.
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 7 months ago.

Hi again.

I understand that you were targeted, etc. What exactly do you mean? What did management do, and why ... i.e., were you harassed, etc., because of a factor such as race, religion, gender, disability, etc.?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
My race yes I'm Black, I am topped out on the pay scale. Every time I have an evaluation, or just anything at work. I have to see the same Assistant Manager at my Base that terminated me.
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 7 months ago.

Hello again. Thanks for clarifying the situation.

It sounds like you have two separate situations: (1) your termination which was based upon the voicemail, and (2) the racial discrimination in the form of the failure to give you a raise because you're black (I assume that non-black employees doing the same work as you with roughly the same experience are being paid more).

First, the termination, I'm sorry to say, sounds like it may have been legitimate if it was truly due to the voicemail. You wrote that the Workplace Violence Prevention Policy "prohibits actions or words that ... result in that individual having a reasonable belief that he or she or someone else is in danger." Note the language that I underlined. This is important because it means that your motivation in stating the words is irrelevant. What is relevant is the recipient's reasonable belief. If you stated something that led the co-worker to reasonably believe that he was in danger, then it doesn't matter if you were intending to keep the peace or just speaking generally. Ultimately, only a court can decide whether it was reasonable for the co-worker to feel threatened by the voicemail, but it doesn't look good based on what you wrote here. I think a lot of people would likely feel threatened if they were told to "Stay your ass in your lan alright, or you get f**ked up." If it's reasonable to take that as a threat (and it sounds like it is), then it appears that you violated the policy even if you didn't intend to make any threats yourself. Of course, that's just my take on it, but I think that you'd have a hard time convincing a court that you were wrongfully terminated given these facts.

On the other hand, you also indicated that you were the victim of discrimination based upon your race. That is certainly illegal. If the EEOC does not do anything for you, then you should request a right to sue letter. Once you have that letter, then you can retain a local attorney to sue the employer. In order to prove the racial discrimination, you will need to show that non-black employees in the same circumstances are treated differently. For example, you mentioned your pay as an issue. You will need to show that non-black employees with the same duties and same experience earn more. That is the best way to prove discrimination, unless you have a smoking gun ... e.g., an email from management stating something like "don't give black people raises."

In sum, it sounds like may have recourse at least regarding the discrimination. I think you'll be fighting an uphill battle regarding the termination, however, since the voicemail could be construed as threatening (though again, that's just my take on it ... you certainly have the right to sue the employer and try to argue that your voicemail did not violate the policy).

Does that answer your question? Please let me know if you need clarification, as I am happy to continue helping you until you are satisfied.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
No once I got to the top out pay since 2014 to current this is what's been going on with me. My Union stated that I should have not been terminated because there weren't any prior disciplines before termination and there are steps before you just automatically go for just Termination.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Now
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I never said thay I would do this
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 7 months ago.

Hi again.

So you're saying that non-black people who have topped out pay would not have been terminated for violating the Workplace Violence Prevention Policy? Instead they would have been given a warning?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Most people who are topped out in pay the company wants to get rid of them. There are at least 5 steps before any termination.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
The co worker never filed a police report anything that
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Relates to being threatened
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
There are steps before automatically termination. A meeting 15 minutes with my Union and The same Assistant Base Manager, whom I meet with all the time cost me termination he already was out to get me.
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 7 months ago.

How else can I help you? What further legal information are you seeking?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
you're saying this case will be hard for me in regular court for which the policy is very broad.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
you believe that this is a True Threat or a Protected Expression.
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 7 months ago.

Hi again.

I do think that you will have an uphill battle in court because of the voicemail. It sounds like the only viable way to win would be to show that it would be unreasonable for the recipient of the voicemail to feel threatened. Truthfully, I think that is a tall order. Most people would feel threatened if a stranger called them and told them that they had better keep their ass in line or they will be f*cked up. That sounds threatening, even if you didn't mean it to be.

Maybe you would stand a chance if you could show that non-blacks who violated the Workplace Violence Prevention Policy were not terminated. Then you could turn it into a discrimination claim. But you didn't actually mention anything like that, so I'm really just throwing out ideas that may not be based upon fact.

Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 7 months ago.

Hello again. I didn't hear back from you, so I'm just checking in to make sure that you don't need more help on this issue. If not, then please remember to provide a positive rating via the stars (and note that your positive rating is the only way that I'll get credit for helping you, so I greatly appreciate it). Thank you!

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