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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Employment Law
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I work in IT at a medical facility located in Maryland, and

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I work in IT at a medical facility located in Maryland, and have been employed there since January of this year. I handle tech support tickets on a daily basis from our corporate office along with all of our clinical locations. In my time at this company, I have made good friends with one of the co-workers there. A couple of weeks ago, this co-worker gave her 2 weeks notice which would have made this upcoming Friday her last day of employment at our company. However, an updated support ticket came in this past Friday (9/8/17) which stated that due to an error made on the co-workers part, they were releasing her from employing at noon on that day. After that ticket came in, another IT Rep I work with sent the co-worker an email saying that she will be missed, and giving her his best wishes. A few minutes later I decided I would send a similar email, despite us being friends outside of the workplace. The email stated nothing about her being terminated that day. however, a couple minutes later my co-worker texted me saying she was outside crying due to a fight she had with her boyfriend. I took one of the 10-minute breaks I was allowed to go make sure she was okay. While outside, our HR Rep came outside and saw us talking while she continued to her car. My co-workers manager ended up pulling her into their office a little before noon pretty much right after we got back inside stating that they were releasing her due to a major error she made, but refused to state what that error was. Immediately after she left the office, my IT manager came in stating that he needed to speak with me. Once I got into his office, the HR Rep from outside was in there along with my manager/boss. They stated that I was being sent home without pay for the rest of the day for breaking protocol, and that what I did was grounds for firing, although they didn't state what exactly I had, but had me sign a paper before leaving for the day. I kicked myself for not reading the letter before signing, but I was worried that if i didn't sign in I would have been fired since the HR Rep said upon me walking into my boss's office that she wanted me fired, although he convinced her otherwise. This morning, I went in and spoke with my boss. I asked him for a letter of the document I signed, which he provided. The document stated that it was my final warning (although I have never received any warning of any kind before this) and also stated that I went against company protocol and told my co-worker that she was being terminated at noon that Friday, while also mentioning that if I made any minor mistake again moving forward that I would be terminated on the spot. I let him know that I signed the document under duress as I feared I would lose my job had I not signed it, and that I did not agree with it as I broke no protocol and didn't make my co-worker aware of her being terminated early. I asked him how exactly I broke protocol, and he said "An employee came to me and said they overheard you while you were at the co-workers desk telling her that she was going to be terminated early." I let him know that this never happened because I never left the IT room that morning, and never went near her cube. We have security cameras throughout the place which I offered him to take a look at where he could see for himself that this never happened. His only response was that he would "talk to the employee in question and get the rest of their story." I personally feel as though it was the HR Rep trying to convince him of this allegation, but I don't want to say anything and make false accusations. I guess my question is.......What would be my best course of action for me to properly handle this, as I do not believe my manager will be speaking to anyone, but rather acting like this never happened while keeping this permanent record on my file. I am currently applying to other jobs,but feel that the way I was treated was completely unprofessional. Any help would be greatly appreciated.......Thanks!


Thank you for the information and your question. At this point, unless your employer has a policy of allowing employees to submit written statements in rebuttal to a counseling (something they aren't required by law to do), their really isn't much you can do unless you have a contractual right to do so. In other words, if you are an employee "at will," your employer can discipline you, up to an including termination, for any, or no, reason and with no notice or warning, unless doing so would violate a contract or is motivated by discrimination because you are a member of a protected class under employment discrimination laws.

Therefore, that means they can be as arbitrary and misguided as they choose. That said, if your employer were to make a false statement of fact to a prospective employer, or other third party outside of the Company about you, then you could have a defamation of character action against them. But again, at this point, absent a contract right, your options are limited to asking if you can submit a written rebuttal.

Please feel free to ask for clarification if needed. If none is needed, then if you could take a moment to leave a positive rating in the ratings box on this page of my efforts to address your question based on the information I have, then the Site will give me credit for assisting you today. Thank you

Hello again,

I wanted to touch base with you and make sure that you did not have any follow up questions for me from the answer I provided to you on the 12th. For some reason, the Experts are not always getting replies or ratings (at the top of the question/answer page you are viewing or in the pop up box for this question), which is how we get credit (paid by the Site) for our work, that the customer thinks have gone through. In your case I received neither.

Please keep in mind that I cannot control the law or your circumstances, and am ethically bound to provide you with accurate information based on the facts you give me even if the news is not good. If you are having technical difficulties with reading, replying or rating, please let me know so that I can inform the Site administrator.Please note that Site use works best while using a computer and using either Google Chrome or Firefox.

In any event, it was a pleasure assisting you and I would be glad to attempt to assist you further on this issue, or a new legal issue,if needed. You can bookmark my page at:

Thank you.

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