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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 19168
Experience:  Employment/Labor Law Litigation
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My HR director asked meeting claiming it was on the

Customer Question

My HR director asked for a meeting claiming it was to follow up on the department I currently supervise. When I arrived, my manager and the HR director let me know that I was being demoted because of my inability to perform my job. They claimed that they had interviewed my staff individually and all had stated that I would not help them, answer any calls, and I had a tendency to start gossip. They also claimed they had proof regarding all these claims, but when I asked for them to present me with the proof I was denied due to confidentiality. I did not sign anything that day and left letting them know that I would sign my demotion before pay period closed. The next day I went to my office and audited all my system records plus all emails. Everything is color coded, therefore i printed two month's worth of documents where all my work, emails regarding calls, department tasks, etc., were reflected. By the print out it was evident that more than half were coded under my color. I also tracked down email threads regarding some of the items he mentioned were gossip. These displayed conversations going back and forth, which coinsidently I was not initiating. My department has 6 staff members, out of them I spoke to 3 regarding the meeting they had with HR, all 3 had no idea what I was talking about. I spoke to them seperately without anyone else's knowledge and all three had the same surprised lost look when I asked about this so called meeting.
JA: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: The next day I requested a meet with the HR director, without my manager present. I gave him all the audits proving I did more work than anyone else, and I handed him the full conversations behind his claims of gossip. He then retracted himself then came back stating he would not move forward with the demotion.
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: Now it has only been 3 weeks since that incident and again I am facing the same issue. They have announced that they will bring 2 new managers, and keep the old one. Therefore with 3 managers there is no need for a supervisor. Again, they have offered to demote me to a per diem (on a needed basis) job. I know that this time they have a valid reason to demote me, however, I feel that this whole change is in retaliation for their previous attempt to demote me.
JA: Anything else you think the lawyer should know?
Customer: Also, I am almost positive the goal of the demotion is to avoid paying unemployment benefits, as they are not laying me off.
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Employment Lawyer about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for trusting your question to JA today. I am a licensed attorney with over a decade of law practice and over 20 years of experience in the legal field. I’m happy to be of assistance.

In employment law, unless you have a contract of employment guaranteeing you a position that can only be terminated for demoted for "cause", you can actually be legally terminated or demoted without cause. Employers like to have a cause, because they don't want to seem arbitrary, but they don't actually legally need a cause.

On these facts, even if you could absolutely prove the most recent demotion is absolutely retaliation for their previous attempt to demote you, that wouldn't legally help you because that is not an illegal form of retaliation. Retaliation is narrowly defined as punishment for having made legally protected EEOC complaints and your facts don't fit that.

If the demotion cuts your pay significantly (33% or more), you can make a statement to the employer that this demotion is not something you can afford and that if they don't increase your pay you will be forced to quit. That helps to make your legal argument for getting unemployment even if you resign.

On these facts, that is the only legal recourse I see for you.

If you have any further questions, please let me know. I invite follow up questions, so use REPLY for those. If you have no further questions then good luck going forward and please do not forget to rate my service with a top-three rating so that I receive credit for working with you today. Please rate me based on my service and not on your satisfaction with the law, which I am not in control of and I am just reporting to you. Also, feel free to request me in the future, if you have questions concerning a different matter.

Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello, I wanted to check in and make sure that there was not any additional information that you required after the response I previously provided to you. If you need further assistance, please use REPLY and ask me for any additional information you may need. If not, take care and have a great day.

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