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I have been terminated from employment without cause. I was…

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I have been terminated from...
I have been terminated from employment without cause. I was a midlevel, at will, manager at a company, 7 years, where my work product had been excellent and I had not received any verbal or written disciplinary action(s) or a management performance improvement plan during my... Read full answer
I have been terminated from employment without cause. I was a midlevel, at will, manager at a company, 7 years, where my work product had been excellent and I had not received any verbal or written disciplinary action(s) or a management performance improvement plan during my tenure with the company, which is unprecedented for the action taken.
I contend and can prove that my termination was not based on any performance measure and was as a result of two Executive Managers conspiring to harass and discredit as retaliation for their wrongly believing that I had supported my immediate supervisor in a work grievance that he himself had filed against them.
Although I understand that as an at-will employee can be terminated without cause however my termination letter indicates reasons the company choose to terminate my services did not have merit. The managers involved in the action were both demoted by the company president within a couple days of the action taken against me. I learned of this from the Company President who I met with, per my request, a few days after receiving my notice however, he would not reinstate me indicating that he decided to support Human Resources decision. Because Human Resources does not have the authority to terminate anyone, I suspect that HR and/or Legal Counsel recommended to him that although my termination was unjustified, the company may be placed at risk for legal action if they acknowledge the collusion and retaliation of the two Executive Level Managers.
Note: I am a retired government employee in which I was an at will employee for 10 years. I was required acknowledgement with my signature the terms and condition of being a at will employee and received documentation explaining such. Prior to receiving my term notice I had not consider my status as being at will. I had not signed or received any such document from the above employer nor received any verbal explanation of such. Can at will assignment be implied? Please advise.
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Employment Law
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Answered in 1 minute by:
11/17/2010
Employment Lawyer: MDLaw, Employment Lawyer replied 8 years ago
MDLaw
MDLaw, Employment Lawyer
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Did you have an employment contract?
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago

Background: I started with the company as a part-time contract security officer in 2003. In 2006 after retirement from the government I was employed full-time by the company and per request of the company took on a uniform supervisory position . In 2008 I acquired a senior management position with the company. My offer letter indicates work location, salary, benefits etc. Makes no mention of at will status and provisions. I do not have assess to a copy of the offer letter that I signed as a new employee in 2003 however, I do have in my files a copy of the offer letter for new employees dated October 1, 2008. There is language that states the following .

" Your employment with ------------------------- is considered "at will" and can be terminated any time by ------------------, Inc either voluntarily (at your request)or by the company for any infraction of the policies and procedures as stipulated in the CGIM , CBA etc...

After reviewing this document I see that there is no language which indicates that your services can be terminated without cause, violation of policy or procedure, and/or for performance. I don't have access to the offer letter I signed in 2003 but I cannot imagine that the new employee( offer) letter that I signed in 2003 would have more specific language regarding ,at will , that the current letter has.

Note: The Company does has a standard performance improvement plan document utilized to place managers on notice that he/she is not performing their management duties as required and outline measures to improve performance. I have utilized this document for managers under my purview when warranted. My first Senior Management position with the company in 2008 was to replace a Senior Manager who had performed his duties poorly and he was subsequently reassigned to a similar position on a smaller contract. The same day I recieved my termination notice, my immediate supervisor who I referenced earlier received a performance improvement plan, his second in 6 months. I was recently informed, by him, that he had recently been placed on suspension pending further action regarding something some action that he did not comply with. Subsequently the agency allowed him to resign in lieu of termination. I was not offer or afforded the same oppotunity.

After researching various publications regarding wrongfully termination I observed where cases have been made that although a company has the authority to terminate without cause, past practices can come into questions when this provision is invoked unequally with employees.

I have worked in this company at the Regional Level for about a year prior to taking a Senior Management position in 2008. I am well verse in the practices of the Company and with personnel and standard operations of the HR and Regional Manager Operations. I do know that disciplinary sanctions and termination actions requests are required to be forwarded to the parent company national HR Division for approvals with justification and the parent company does not rubber stamp these approvals.

The subjects in reference is not privy to the allege justification only the final decision. Any justification offer regarding me has to be fabricate because all of the contact, dialogue and responsibility of the contract in which I was assigned was with my immediate supervisor and I had minimal contact or dialogue with the parties who generated my termination. My worksite was the only company site in the Region located in Maryland. The Corporate and Regional Offices are located in Virginia. What these individuals were not privy to is that the President of the Company valued my services and had called me at the workplace and offered me a better paying larger position with a new contract that they were bidding on a couple of months before they took their action My immediate supervisor and another high ranking official was present when I received the call. I have no doubt that these individuals circumvented the Company President when taking this action and he did not learn of it until I contacted him. I have resources from the Regional Office who informed me of these individuals' agenda to discredit me months before this action was taken.

I have never been terminated from employment for any reason in 30 plus years in the workforce. I do not have any disciplinary actions on file with any employer. I retired from the government in good standings with countless awards and commendations. I have been unable to gain similar employment at a similar rate of pay as a result of the actions of my former employer.

Employment Lawyer: MDLaw, Employment Lawyer replied 8 years ago
You say that you signed an offer letter. However, my question was whether you have an employment contract. That is the question I need an answer to in order to be able to assist you.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
I an not currently employed
Employment Lawyer: MDLaw, Employment Lawyer replied 8 years ago
You asked about a termination. Therefore, if you look at my original question to you, it was whether or not you had an employment contract with the employer that you are asking about in your question to this site. Or is that not what your question is about?
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago

The offer letter is the employment contract. I wish to address this on three tracks.

 

1. Can the employer terminate an at will employee representing false information preceeded by harassment, retailations tactics and slander? I am aware that harassment in the workplace is an illegal practice. I have been a government trained investigator and conducted countless criminal, administrative and EEOC investigatings during my career. I can reconize an illegal practice of abuse of authority and harassment. I also can offer written and verbal evidence which would validate said allegations.

 

2. Can the employer terminate utilize the at will termination process unequally when past practicties and established procedures dictate otherwise?

 

3. Can the employer utilize the at will process without demostrating that the employee has been apprised of thier at will status and/or if the offer letter document which mentions the term does not elaborate or is in compliance with the specific action taken?

Employment Lawyer: MDLaw, Employment Lawyer replied 8 years ago
An offer letter is not an employment contract. That is very well accepted as a matter of law.

An at-will employee can be terminated for any reason or no reason at all so long as it is not because of his or her race, age, gender, disability, religion, or national origin. Harassment is only illegal if it is based on one of those protected classes.

At-will employment is a default status. Therefore, unless you have an employment contract, you are an at-will employee. An employee does not need to be told that they are an at-will employee.
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