California Employment Law
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I want to provide a link to a possible place of employment FOR my boss. I am also interested in whatever way it would be OK and appropriate to be in touch with him professionally. Yes- we are both former employees for the company at which I signed the agreement.
Thanks for your answer. An incident occured about 2 months after I signed that agreement in which a former employee called me about the company and I tried to "warn" my boss by sending him an email about the call. Obviously this was a huge mistake because the interpretation was that I might be participating in the former employees legal actions (which I was not). My boss at the time-the gentleman I refer to above--sent me a warning on behalf of the company. I have gotten messages that I am not allowed -per the agreement--to communicate *at all* w former and current employees in matters of "employment" and "termination". Here is my former boss's warning to me:
The email was Titled:
Mary, through your recent voicemail communication and email, where you confirmed contact with both current and former employees relating to their employment and termination.
We consider this a serious breach of the Separation Agreement which you signed on your release from [company]. (I have cut and paste section 6 of agreement which specifically addresses this)
Should any further incidences of this behavior come to our notice we will seek the legal recourse available to us under the law.
Look forward to your answer--your first one suggests something different than I have understood until now.
If ok -- I would like to ask one more thing --part of where my confusion is:
Quoting you from above:
" the agreement clearly restricts you only from participating (in any manner) in 'legal actions against the Company...on or in connection with any matters relating to their employment or the termination thereof.'"
Is "any manner" receiving a phone call from a former employee who asked about how he was let go? Is "any manner" receiving the call at all/ or answering his question?
I think this is where my mistake night have been--in the interpretation of "assisting" stated in the clause....
But I'm not sure.?
Yes-- thanks Patrick-- this is what prompted my former boss' email.
Actually-- I did receive a call from a very unhappy former employee and he wanted to know what paperwork he was supposed to get upon termination. I did answer his question and now see how he could use my answer as partial support for legal action. What was interesting is that he had already researched and learned the answer through the labor board and declared the mis-informed processing of his termination (leaving out two mandatory forms) a misdemeanor (!).
I reported the information to my former boss as a loyal and supportive act > albeit naively< and nonetheless--through email (!).
I see where I went horribly wrong though my intentions were (horribly?) right! Thanks for making the distinction, though--it helped me a lot. I was a loyal employee of 3+ years and still loyal when I was layed off (!). The owner of the company in question is known for his bullying.. sadly..it seems he bullied my boss, too.
FYI-- if I ever need this type of legal assistance-- I hope you are around.
Mary,Please feel free to request me to answer any future legal questions you may have. To perhaps assuage some of your concerns with regard to the present matter, your employer most likely could not assert a damages claim against you because, as you note, the "assistance" you provided was of no material support to this former employee. In other words, you did not positively influence their ability to sue your former employer, and so your former employer did not sustain any "damage" as a result of your (arguable) breach. Without damages there can be no claim (otherwise what are you suing for?). Thus, absent further and more involved "assistance" there would be no plausible basis for legal action against you.I don't think a jury would take much pit on an employer in this circumstance, either, as it is plainly apparent you were trying to be honest and loyal and he is resorting to bullying and legal threats.Best wishes to you moving forward.
Thanks for your patience. I realize this discussion is really teaching me about this unfortunate but probably common experience with corporate and it is an area in which I am very naive. I believe a full understanding of this incident--such as you are helping with- is very valuable for me going forward. I hope you don't indulging me and don;t feel as if you need to assuage. What I'm realizing is that I bought the intimidation tactic completely and, finally, I believe this will help finally purge me of it.
The next item I would like to share is the email I sent to my boss after I received the call from the upset employee. I can see my approach might have scared the living daylights out of him(direct) if he has encountered legal troubles before--but I wrote it from a very sincere intention and don't understand what I consider the over reaction to it. Possibly he just shifted into Risk Prevention mode, But what I don't understand is does this really sound so threatening? Do you smell lawsuit in this? Here it is:
"Hi (Boss), I heard from (employee) this evening and wanted to check in to review proper separation forms w you--it seems there are 2 you are leaving out. As it is a compliance matter I thought it would be good if we could speak briefly afternoon or evening. I have an appointment at 11 this morning. I can be available from 2:30 pm on. If you prefer email--that's fine,too."
His first response was:
"I'm confused I used the exact same documentation used when you and (another employee) exited. Can you clarify?"
And I replied, trying to be of service:
"Yes-- I recall printing these to out for myself when you laid me off so it is understandable if you've missed them: Please print the entire EDD booklet called "Caifornia's Programs for the Unemployed"--about 20 or so pages. Not sure what folder that was in--perhaps the "Employee" folder on my desktop at the time. If you need to get it from (Payrollcompany)--see the compliance number below. Also this HIPP notice is required: that should be in that folder also. If you can't find it: http://www.dhcs.ca.gov/formsandpubs/forms/Forms/DHCS%209061%20(Notice%20to%20Terminating%20Employees)%2007-09.pdf Please also make use of Paychex in this regard--they are helpful. You have access to the Federal and State Employment law telephone assistance line as part of the Handbook service (Company) pays for (something like 30 dollars per month). Phone number: 1-800-XXX-XXXX option Z then -option 1 for any compliance questions you may have about anything. -option 2 for Handbook questions. Best Mary
Does this really sound scary?
Thanks for this.
Given what you know-would there be a true legal reason my former boss would want to stop all communication with me? I know he no longer works for the company we worked for and it has been over a year since my email and his reply above (Aug 29).
Given that the former CEO was extreme, could he have threatened my former boss with a lawsuit of any kind? If the CEO had access to company email he would have found periodic emails I exchanged with my boss helping him with his job (the one I was let go from) which was HR.
All emails were sent as tutorial as I knew he was not comfortable in an administrative capacity total--probably 5--one of them comprehensive. Over the phone on one occasion he mentioned that they were helpful. I did notice he gave very short answers -if any- through email but was rather winded when we spoke on the phone. I mention this because I wonder- if the CEO saw all of these communiques--perhaps he could have threatened him (which is his particular language of choice) with a viable legal threat by the time my email crossed into company territory..
Patrick-- thank you.
This has helped me with understanding wether or not there is real substance of legal threat or if this has in large part been a smoke screen generated by the paranoia of the CEO--which I think the latter is the case.
What I'm seeing is quite sad, however, is that my former boss either believes what he wrote to me or, finally, is perfectly pissed that I sent that email in the first place which showed him two things-- he has no email privacy ( foolishly I was assuming he did as a COO--you would think!) and--the CEO's fears brought out the bully and he got beat up...
I no longer feel in the dark about the legal ramifications of all this and so I can now trust that my former boss' feelings are hurt, he will not breach the subject and it's time for me to move on..
It's nice to have the two issues separated.
Thanks so much for your good help.
Will do on both counts.