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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 29267
Experience:  Former judicial law clerk, lawyer
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It says error when I try to explain my situation. No, my

Customer Question

It says error when I try to explain my situation.
JA: Have you documented this or discussed it with HR?
Customer: No, my brother told me their is no point after being fired. That they would think I'm being biased due to my termination.
JA: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?
Customer: part0time part-time
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I thought you were the lawyer and I did send you my situation. Did you receive it?
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 6 months ago.


I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that you were fired.

I'm afraid your question did not come through. Can you tell me what happened and what questions you have? Also, what state do you live in?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Some background, I apologize it's a little long and may be irrelevant I'm a college student and I worked for a gym part time. I was an opener 4:30am-9:00am and it was a very easy going job (if you make it). I'm always positive and all the members honestly love me and even say they'd vouch for me if anything ever happened. I was catch of the quarter (employee of the month 3x) and everything was going well. Up until my manager left due to having a new born and wanting to spend more time with his family. He stayed with the company but went to corporate. We had a great relationship and he always got things done in a timely manner. He brought in the new manager to introduce to everyone before he left. The new manager seemed laid back and had visions improving the gym. All was good until I noticed he was extremely passive aggressive. He would never bluntly tell you something and the lack of communication is astonishing. I'll email him a members concerns (it needs to be addressed the same day) and he'll hold off for days. He's repeatedly forgot to order something over and over again. Members complain and I have no authorization to do anything so my job is to email management and they don't hear from him back. I can go on and on about how to club was going downhill since he got there. This gym is a branch and he's been a manager at two other locations and his total time with the company is four years. He should have no excuses. Another issue was how a new girl was hired the same time he got here and theirs a 90 days grace period to guarantee your position here and a 6 month period before you can become a supervisor. Within her 30 days, he approached her asking if she wanted the position that she was far under qualified for. How does this make sense? Her being a supervisor before she's even guaranteed the position she has now (same as mine) and she's already been asked to move up in management. She has no prior qualifications to be a supervisor nonetheless a gym attendant. I would train her and even after 4 weeks of supervisor training she would still ask me basic questions and protocol. She told me he would text her and she replied "Stop texting me, you're being unprofessional" (I'm assuming it wasn't work related) and he would always ask her to come to the back office (that's where they work but the supervisor is usually always up front helping, especially during rush hours) He's never up front when guys are working but always helping out in the front when she's up there. The turn over rate in this company is beyond belief. In my 15 months there, I've seen about 4 assistant mangers, 6 supervisors, 15+ front desk attendant (my position) 15+ Membership Sales come and go. At 15 months, I was the oldest (not age but job position) one there. I'm saying this because we were short 1 supervisor that was crucial (we ran out of numerous items such as bottled water, it's a gym, you can't be out of water) So, I decided to step up, as much as I did not want to, I cared for my morning members and their concerns not being addressed. I asked to speak with him after my shift. I told him I would like the position and how I'm familiar with everything (I was honestly over qualified but didn't step up sooner because what I had was easy). He said he has already offered the position to this other girl (she hates this place and only applied because he approached her as well) but he really liked my pitch and my concern for the club. He would take my application (once again, not to sound presumtious but I could do his job) The girl that was offered the jobs has been absent for a little over a month due to appendicitis even though her doctors note was only for 2 weeks. She told my other co worker she just didn't want to come back and was considering leaving and going back to work for her mother. So, while the club is going down hill, he's waiting for someone who MIGHT come back. If I were in management, I couldn't fire her due to legal reasons but I would definitely have to hire someone available at this time. It was pathetic, I would ask him if he's heard from her and he would either say "I haven't spoken to her in a couple days" or "She's not sure when she will be back". It would infuriate me, I almost went to H.R. but I was worried it would stir up conflict between me and the manager and I would be fired. I did not know H.R. was not biased (until after I got fired) so I called my old manager and told him what was going on. He heard me out and told me he can't do anything because it's not his club anymore but I could file a complaint to H.R. if it's bothering me that much. I just kept my mouth shut but new manager knew I did not like him but he couldn't fire me without a reason. There has been a member (we'll call him Bob) he tries to act thuggish and he has been nothing but trouble since the day he signed up.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
His first complaint was why he was being charged a late fee and I simply told him because he was not paying on time. He said he can have the money sometime this week and would like to change his bill date all together. I notified membership and they changed his date to his convenience. He comes the next day yelling at me asking why he was charged and additional $10. I let him know calmly that it was because his payment was late and even though it's on a different date now doesn't waive the fact he was originally late. He makes a ruckus and wants my managers/corporate's number. Every time there is an incident (someone's hurt, payment is late, etc) we notate their account what happened so when management looks, they have an idea what is going on. One day, he comes up furious (nothing new) screaming "I'ma f**k this guy up" I asked him what was going on. He said "There's some guy following me around, he's a faggot and I'm not with that", "he's barking up the wrong tree, I'm going to f**k him up". I asked him who? He pointed at my friends brother (one of the nicest and laid back guys you'll meet) and starts talking shit to him. My friends brother was confused to what was going on. He asked me if anyone has turned in some keys and later told me he was walking up and down the stairs looking for them. I have done nothing but help Bob, I was the only one who honestly bothered to care because I don't know 'his story' or what's currently going on in his life to act the way he does. I notify my manager when he got in because this is (so I thought) a big deal. Bob threatened to 'f**k someone up' and called him 'gay and faggot'. My manager just spoke with Bob and talked to my friends brother about it and nothing happened. My friends brother was potentially in danger and they didn't suspend his account? Bob has had over 20 notes (within a month) on his account about having problems with the gym and receiving $19 in one dollars bills and how his wallet wouldn't close. He threatened to cancel but I doubted he would because of the $250 cancellation fee and he can barely make $50/monthly payments. Soon, everyone just ignored him except me and he liked me because I would always listen and take action to his outrageous concerns. One day, I brought a foam(softer than a nerf football) to work so my co worker and I can throw around outside after our shift. We have a dead hour where we usually fold towels, eat, or re rack weights. So we decide to toss the foam ball back and forth at about 15ft distance. He threw it too high, it hit my finger tips and went over into the room where Bob was laying down (hydro massage) I ran inside, the foam football was on the ground not the bed, and he was laying on the hydro bed away from the football. He said "oh shit, that scared me" I repeatedly apologized and he didn't seem to care nor did he say it hit him in any kind of way. Before he left that day, I told him once again how sorry I was and we would never do it again. He responded "no worries". The next day, I check his notes, he called corporate saying "The Mexican and Chinese guy up front were throwing a football around and it hit him in the face", I was in disbelief and found it kind of racist.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
He seemed to be fond of me despite the 'problems' he had with the gym and even reassured me when I apologized 'no worries'. His notes said he wanted to cancel immediately and that he has had enough of this gym and the lack of responses to his concerns and now this!?. He lied because he pretty much knew he could use this as an excuse to waive the $250 cancellation due to 'lack of customer service'. My manager calls me in his office the next day, I had an idea what he wanted to talk to me about so, I brought the foam football to show him. He explained that he got a call from Bob about a football hitting his face. He said he was in disbelief and decided to review the tape. He saw us throwing it around,falling over into the room and saw Bob get up. I asked if they can show me the actual video footage of it hitting his face (our cameras are HD, you would see) He quickly responds " We couldn't see due to the angle but we saw him get up" He did not get up, I ran into the room as soon as it went over and he was still laying down. Knowing Bob's temper, if it hit him in the face, he would've let me know then and there. Therefore even with the lack of evidence and tampered story, he terminated me on the spot and did not take my story into consideration. I'm not being biased, I know he did not like me because he knew that I knew he was doing nothing for the company. He had the audacity to say "you can reapply after 3 months" knowing damn well he wouldn't hire me again (There goes his passiveness). My brother told me "With your positive history there, they should've gave you a final warning (I've never got written up but this being a big deal, they could give me double punishment for it)but, decided to terminate you based on an irrational persons statement and lack of evidence". In conclusion, I filed for employment because I have no safety net, my family cannot help, I have no money saved up, I have to make minimum payments on my credit card, mid terms coming up and it's hard to find a part-time job that will work around my abnormal school schedule and My sisters wedding is in November out of state (this may not be important to some but it's extremely important to our family). After receiving my first check, I got something in the mail saying my former employer is going taking me to court to appeal. I'm not trying to freeload from the government, they're paying me $100/week which is enough for rent, gas, and food with budgeting. I just need some assistance at this time in my life and I've been applying at the competing gym across the street and anything that allows me to work graveyard. My question is, what evidence can I bring to court and do I have a chance? I know this story is long, is their any key details I should bring up? I genuinely feel my former manager was just waiting for something like this to happen to get rid of me. I'm 20 and I will be representing myself. I know they have an attorney but I'm not sure he'll be representing them or if my former manager will. I'm extremely nervous and can't stop thinking about the day I get the mail with the date I have to show up to court.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 6 months ago.

Thank you. It'll just take me a few minutes to read through this and get an answer for you.

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 6 months ago.

I'm sorry that all of this happened.

With an unemployment hearing, what it really comes down to is whether a person was let go due to something they did or something beyond their control. And in your case, putting everything else aside, it all comes down to one thing: whether you were allowed to use down time in the morning for your personal use, or if your employer allowed employees to play football/engage in other activities. If you weren't supposed to have the football there in the first place, it doesn't matter whether it hit the customer or not. So you should be prepared to talk about why this was allowed, or how you'd been led to believe it was allowed. If there are other employees who could testify that this is a common occurrence, that would help.

If they want to use you hitting Bob as a reason for terminating you, they need to prove it happened. You can question them about their refusal to let you see the tape, and explain what you saw when you entered the room. If anyone else was there, you can ask them to come in and testify. But it's all going to go back to whether you were allowed to have the football there in the first place. In most non-gym workplaces, that would be grounds for termination. You have to convince the unemployment board that it's not.

If you have any questions or concerns about what I've written, please reply so that I may address them. If I did not address the specific thing that you wanted to know, it may not have come across clearly to me, so please restate that question. It's important to me that you are 100% satisfied with the service I provide. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so that I get credit for answering your question. Thank you.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
We have a basketball court upstairs which is where people shoot basketballs. I've brought the foam football plenty of times. Basketballs are allowed to be dribbled on the floor indoors so there is no clear rule of why footballs aren't allowed. Also, my down time is not allowed as my personal time but other people bring their iPads to watch Netflix but I also don't think that is allowed.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 6 months ago.

If there's a basketball court and they let people dribble the balls in places other than on the court, then that helps your argument that you weren't doing anything wrong. Which means the lack of the tape will be more helpful to you.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I truly believe my manager is sexist, he only moves up women to upper management. Additionally, he approached them first, and did not ask me (someone who has been there the longest) and would rather move up someone who is still in probation of securing her job as an employee. I understand many jobs do this, especially when men are in a higher position, they do tend to choose women to be by their side.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
But, I do not want to unravel a whole other legal issue. I just want to be compensated until I can find work. What would be best in my defense that I should prepare and bring? I plan on bringing the foam football to show it can cause no serious harm or damage. I also throw the football to members in the morning (the playful ones) and it helps engage and interact with others. I've never heard a complaint from anyone but Bob because he needed a way out without paying.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 6 months ago.

Because women are the minority, there's unfortunately no cause of action for promoting a woman. However, from what you said, your coworker could very well have a sexual harassment claim against the manager - it depends on the content of those messages and what else was going on.

Your best defense is that you didn't do anything wrong because (a) the ball was allowed and (b) it didn't actually hit him.

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 6 months ago.

Please rate my answer positively to ensure I get credit for the time I spend helping. If you are on a mobile device, you may need to scroll to the right. Thank you.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Last questions, should I mention everything above? Although it's irrelevant, it does correlate to the story and what the manager M.O. was to finally get rid of me.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 6 months ago.

They probably won't want all the details of the full story. You could mention that your supervisor has been looking for an excuse to fire you and see if they have questions about that.