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Edward Young
Edward Young,
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 722
Experience:  Principal Attorney at The Law Offices of Edward D. Young, III
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I was just recently demoted from my position as a district

Customer Question

I was just recently demoted from my position as a district manager to a store manager.
JA: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: North Carolina
JA: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?
Customer: I have been employed with this company for 26 years. during which I was a store manager for 18 and district manager for 8.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I have ever received progressive discipline during this time until 2 months ago I was issued a PIP.(performance improvement plan). This plan was to be followed up on weekly over the course of 7 weeks but only followed up on 2 times during this period instead of the 7 by my director of operations. During this time for the last week the director of human resources placed his resignation and the assistant followed up two weeks later on a conference call saying the PIP was completed. I was also instructed the CEO would be meeting up with me to review our next steps and how we can further improve. On 11-30-17 I was told by the CEO that I could demote or be terminated without a reason considering to my knowledge the PIP was completed. The letter I was given was back dated 2 days with a 5 day effective time line. The letter was also worded "You have initiated a request to be removed from your position as District Manager and transferred to a Restaurant General Manager position. I never initiated this request as I was under the impression that my position was secured due to completion of the PIP. I was asked to sign the letter during the conversation but refused due to wanting to consider the options and was asked to respond back tomorrow morning even though it states that I have 5 days. Those 5 days were cut to 3 with the pre dating of the letter. With my employment of 26 years and no progressive discipline aside from the PIP that was not signed off on by me either upon conclusion and lack of follow up from my superiors do I have any legal recourse? The company also made us sign an arbitration agreement with the stipulations that we could sign it or be released during this time.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
The employment is at will
Expert:  Edward Young replied 11 months ago.

Hi. My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney. I would be happy to provide assistance. Please give me a moment to formulate a response. Also, please keep in mind that our conversation does not include an attorney-client relationship and this is for general information purposes only.​

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I understand
Expert:  Edward Young replied 11 months ago.

It is clear to me that you are being forced to take a lower position or resign. It is time to contact a labor lawyer to protect your rights and get the most money out of them that you can. A person with your experience can get another job, perhaps with more pay.

Please give me the city where you live and work in North Carolina and will refer you to some very highly rated labor lawyers who will protect your rights.

In the meantime, here are some recommendations:

  1. If they ask you to resign, say no. Unless you're being offered substantial dollars in exchange for a forced resignation, what's your upside? You'll probably be disqualified from getting unemployment. You may accidentally give up some discrimination, whistleblower or other claims. Some people think it looks better to potential employers to say you resigned, but really, who do you think you're fooling? In this economy, almost nobody resigns without having another job lined up. They'll know something bad happened, so why make it easier on the former employer by quitting

If you do have access to your computer and documents, here's what you do want to collect before you go:

  • documentation of anything they owe you (commissions, bonuses, contracts, etc.)
  • proof of any deals still in the pipeline you think you may be entitled to be paid on after you leave
  • any evidence of age, sex, race, national origin, religious, disability, or other discrimination or harassment
  • copies of all employment agreements, confidentiality agreements and noncompete agreements you signed
  • your performance reviews, evaluations, commendations, awards, write-ups, disciplines, recommendation letters -- anything you can get about your performance, bad or good
  • anything else you think might be useful to a lawyer or to unemployment

    2. Don't sign anything.

    You aren't thinking straight. When they shove a severance agreement, disciplinary report or other paperwork in front of you, take a deep breath, and ask for a copy to review. Take a look at it once you've had a chance to calm down.

    If there's anything you don't understand, take it to a lawyer to have it reviewed before you sign. You may be giving up rights you shouldn't, or maybe you have some leverage to negotiate for more money.

    You especially don't want to accidentally sign a noncompete agreement that limits your ability to work for a year or two, unless you understand it and are getting some substantial dollars for it.

    3. Don't yell, curse or make a scene.

    You don't want to burn bridges. You still need these people, as much as you hate them right now. They will be on your resume for many years. They'll have to give references on you.

    Plus, if you tick them off they're more likely to challenge your unemployment. They can make your life even more miserable right now, believe it or not. I've known many employees who were fired or laid off and who ended up getting rehired down the road.

    4. If you believe they got it wrong, don't argue or beg.

    If they got the wrong person or there's something you can prove is incorrect, you can tell them calmly. However, very few employers will change their minds at this point.

    If your proof is at home or is something you need to provide in writing, then wait until you've cooled off, put together your information in a business-like fashion, and send it later.

    They may have an appeals or grievance process. Follow it.

    5. Don't admit to a crime or wrongdoing.

    Sometimes, the employer will lock you in a room with Loss Prevention and say you can't leave unless you sign something admitting that you stole inventory or did something wrong. Don't do it. You're already going to be fired -- don't let them fool you. "Just sign and you'll still have your job," they might say. They're lying. The only question is whether you'll also end up in jail or with a big judgment against you.

    If they say you can't leave, open the door and go anyhow. If they block the way, pull out your cell phone or pick up the phone in the room and call 911. If you don't have a phone and they block your way, demand to be allowed out. If they still won't let you go, scream at the top of your lungs for help. That's the one time I recommend making a scene. (Don't touch anyone though). Eventually you will be allowed out of the room. Call 911 the second you leave the premises and tell the police what happened. Then call an employment attorney (or criminal defense attorney if you need one) and get advice.

    But whatever you do, don't sign something admitting to a crime. Ever.

    I hope this helps.

    Please go ahead and rate me. If you have any follow-up or clarification questions, please ask! There is no additional fee. If I have fully answered your question(s) to your satisfaction, I would appreciate you rating my service (hopefully Excellent/5 stars!) at the top of the screen. Otherwise, I receive no credit for assisting you. I thank you in advance for taking the time to provide me a positive rating! A BONUS is also appreciated if you feel I've earned one today.​​

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
These answers really do not answer what I was looking for around the circumstances involved.
I understand do not sign the agreement
1) Do I have a high potential of having a grievance against the company due to not following through on my PIP properly due to only 2 sit downs compared to 7 especially with my previous disciplinary actions being 0.
The CEO meeting with me 2 weeks after assuming everything was ok and then telling me I was being demoted but wording it as if I asked for a demotion.
2) Should I respond back to HR with the discrepancies in time lines that are back dated 2 days?
3) Should I ask to have the letter re written stating I did not ask for a demotion but was told to or a dismissal?This is a right to work state and the company is at will.
Not sure if my age of 48 will come into play either after 26 years of service.