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I am a Dental Hygienist in New Mexico. My employment was…

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I am a Dental Hygienist...
I am a Dental Hygienist in New Mexico. My employment was recently terminated, and I am not sure what to do.
I was not provided a reason for the termination. I suspect it has to do with producing less revenue for the practice than some of the other Hygienists, but again the manager would not provide comment or explanation when I asked what was going on. A few months ago my employer (a private dentist) partnered with MB2 Dental Solutions, a management company. A representative of the company relayed my termination via phone, the Dentist was not in the room and I don’t know how much he was involved.
Should I file for unemployment? If I do, what do say when I don’t know why I was fired, and if it was with or without cause?
Can I contact the Dentist directly for more explanation, since the management company won't provide details?
I am concerned going forward looking for a new job, because if a potential employer contacts my previous employer I have no idea what they will say. Do I have any right to know, and how much information can my previous employer disclose about my job performance and eligibility, or why they decided to terminate me? I don’t want an unknown black mark following me the rest of my career.
Thank you for your help.
Submitted: 8 months ago.Category: Employment Law
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Answered in 1 minute by:
11/16/2017
Employment Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 8 months ago
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 13,233
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating (click here for more info) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. Because I want to provide you with the most accurate answer possible, do you mind if I take a moment to review your question?

Please keep in mind that our conversation does not include an attorney-client relationship and this is for general information purposes only.

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Employment Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 8 months ago

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. You could file for unemployment so long as the reason for your termination was through no fault of your own. Unemployment requires that those individuals who were not terminated for gross misconduct and were just terminated because of a decision made by the employer, then they can apply for unemployment. Even if you do not know the situation, you can tell the unemployment authorities that you do not know that you were terminated. If you have reason to believe it was a revenue issue, you can say that. That is not normally considered an issue of "gross misconduct." What they mean by "gross misconduct generally is that you stole, lied, cheated, or did something terrible to get fired.

You generally don't have a right to know why you were terminated at all, unfortunately. Employers can terminate you for any reason at any time unless you have a contract that says otherwise. I'm very sorry. You could always request; however, there's no legal right to know.

Did you have any other questions for me?

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Thank you for your quick response. I suspected as much, but am thankful for the confirmation.
You said I don't necessarily have a right to know why I was terminated, but I am still concerned about what information my previous employer is able to disclose about the situation. As I go about looking for another job, can my former employer say things about me to a potential employer that they never said to me? I would hate to end up loosing future work opportunities based on something I have never been given an opportunity to refute. Is there any way to limit that risk?
I know it is a bit more general of a question, but do you have advice about what may be the most truthful but least incriminating wording to use on a resume or application when stating why one is longer at their previous job?
Employment Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 8 months ago

You're certainly welcome. Your employer can provide some information to prospective employers without being liable for defamation; however, this is a qualified privilege. This means that they can be honest about their opinion of your professionalism and work ethic, but if they begin making up stories or relating things to future employers that are irrelevant, but damaging about you, then you could potentially sue them for defamation. I've been fired from three jobs before, and I can tell you that I usually just do not put down the reason why I stopped working at that place. If it comes up in an interview, I would probably suggest just explaining that you were let go because you had trouble selling, but they didn't go into details, so you suspect that it wasn't personal, but just a business decision. what other questions did you have for me today?

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