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I was fired from my job with county government court system…

I was fired from...

I was fired from my job with county government court system after 18 years by new clerk that came in office after election. I had received 3 write ups , that I signed in fear of not signing as well as supposedly complaints that I did not know if or saw in written form. We did not have a H R department in which to voice a complaint. I felt that was intimidated and or almost threatened in a subtle manner. The loss of my job happened in July 2017. Do I have any recourse?

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you discussed the termination with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?

The clerk fired me, we had no office manager or HR department. I spoke with the local EEOC officer and was told that being I did not write a letter or notice of my complaint or concern of the intimidation to the clerk or any one else and that I had signed the write ups, that there wad nothing they could do

Lawyer's Assistant: Are you an "at will" employee? Do you belong to a union?

No I was not in an union. The at will employee, is that where the clerk can come in and clear out if decides.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

The last write up she gave, she stated that she was cutting my hourly pay, which she did from 17.50 to 12.25 .

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Answered in 9 minutes by:
3/22/2018
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 10,210
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.

Do you believe that you were targeted because of your race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or religious beliefs at all?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I think possibly due to my age, being I was one of the two ladies there still employed by the previous clerk over the age of 55. Yes, I was the only Black working in the county court system, I was,not the only one in the county government umbrella. I feel that the clerk wanted me out of office because I was of the previous clerk hiring and she wanted only to have her younger friends employed with her.
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Religious beliefs, I am Baptist and she and the other lady over 55 are Church of Christ.

I'm sorry to hear about that. This to me sounds like you would have a case of employment discrimination which is prohibited under state and federal law at 42 USC 2000e-2. I understand that your EEO office had told you something, but many times people don't have these things documented so I would recommend going to another local office to discuss this issue.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission field office in your area will serve as the agency that would oversee the complaint, should you decide to file one. There are some basic processes that the EEOC files that I think you should be aware of, and I have listed them below:

The initial pre-complaint process can be found at 29 C.F.R. §1614.105. This is the process whereby you may bring this action to an Equal Employment Opportunity Counselor within usually 300 days. The Counselors must advise individuals in writing of their rights and responsibilities, including the right to request a hearing after an investigation by the agency. The process may go through informal mediation wherein the employer and the employee try to come to a reasonable agreement. It’s voluntary and I highly recommend it in most cases.

Regardless, the EEO Counselor will issue a report based on their initial findings. Once the employee receives notice of the findings, they have 15 days to file a formal complaint.

The formal complaint process can be found at 29 C.F.R. §1614.106-108. Basically, the EEO will conduct a full investigation and come up with a Report of Investigation. The employee has the right to request an administrative hearing with an administrative judge after receiving the ROI or they may sue in a federal district court. Mediation is always still on the table. If the parties cannot mediate, then the parties will go through the administrative process or a federal civil proceedings and then the judge will issue a “Final Agency Decision” (for administrative hearings) or a ruling (for civil actions) If the employee doesn’t like the decision, then they can always appeal. A quick Google search will reveal your local EEO office so check that out.

What other questions did you have for me today that I can help you out with:-)?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
If I am understanding you correctly, you are saying I do have a right to pursue something legally. From what I gathered with the EEOC, there was nothing I could do. I have not received anything in writing from the interview,. I had spoken with a local attorney when I was fired, and after a period of time, I was told that their office was too closely associated with the court system to be of any help.
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
The EEOC attorney did not mention anything of filing or mediation after she said that I had signed the write ups and not made any formal complaints.

I understand. If you have reason to believe you were discriminated against because of your age, race, and religious beliefs, you should contact another local EEOC department in your state to discuss. They'll do an intake with you and help you understand if you have a case. Some of the other EEOC people you've spoken with probably just don't want to do the work, but you should probably continue seeing if you have rights that were violated.

Did you have any other questions for me today that I could help you with?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I am still not sure if I have anything that can be brought upnina civil suit. I lost my career of 18 years, short of being able to retire with benefits. I was in a hostile work environment with a clerk who used intimidating practices, and had no HR department to go to, and now it seems that basically I am just out of look. I guess I just don't understand, are there some forms of employment that are allowed to do what they please to those that they are over and not have to answer to any one.

I can understand. It sounds awful what they did.

Harassment/retaliation/discrimination is against the law; however, employment law only makes it against the law if the basis of these actions by the employer are based on your race, gender, age, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, or disability. Employment law doesn’t necessarily cover people who act like jerks. In some states, contract law may help if an employer doesn’t act in good faith. Under the Uniform Commercial Code, any party to any agreement (including employment agreements) has to act in good faith with one another. The failure to do so could be a breach of contract. It’s one of the possible legal solutions, but not always the most practical one.

There are some other things that I could recommend to you to help you deal with this problem now and not just in the courtroom based on my experience in working with thousands of people who have had the same issue. Generally, I recommend that you keep documentation of everything that happened. The frequency, duration, and intensity are going to be important and it’ll make it difficult for them to deny this if you confront them. In addition, you should strongly consider what your employer says about this behavior. With the right documentation and some back up in the employee handbook or policy, it could help you solve this right away. You may want to consider having the people who are willing sign an affidavit (a sworn statement) describing what they saw and heard. There’s a site that I’ve used in the past where you can find a good templates (click here). I also recommend building a support network and getting people involved in the situation who may be advocates for you. They may have practical tips or ideas specific to your industry, your organization, or even your team that could be much more helpful than anything the law could provide.

The one thing that you could do is keep a lawsuit in your back pocket. What I mean by this is if the issues continue, then you may want to consider a lawsuit for intentional infliction of emotional distress. IIED means that if someone is intentionally causing severe emotional distress in another, then you may be able to recover for the damages that occurred (e.g. therapist bills, lost wages, medications, etc.). You would have to prove that you suffered damages, but employees have used this tactic when employers have done the same things yours has.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Hmmm, the only documentation are the notes that made to myself, sort if like a journal. I did feel that I was under emotional distress, but I was diagnosed with anything. I have told my doctor of feeling depressed and anxious as a result of losing my job, but, we did not pursue any medication at that time. Being that I am no longer employed with them, I am feeling less stressed, but I still feel that if there had a department in place, possibly I could have discussed being moved to another department of county government.

I see what you mean. Take some time to consider my suggestions. I've seen it work in the past and at least get people some form of relief. I always say wait 48 hours when making big decisions about what steps to take next, but now at least hopefully you have the tools to make it happen.

Did you have any other questions for me today that I could help you with?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
No, I can not think of anything else. I will think on these answers you gave me. I am just trying to see if there is something here worth pursuing that is not going to take everything that I have, get pushed around and drawn out in court or even be dismissed by a judge that is in the same court system the clerk is over. Even though, this is election year and she is running again. Thank you.

The pleasure is all mine! Unless you have additional questions, there’s just a few other things I’d like you to know before we wrap up this conversation:

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Ok. Will do. Thanks again.

Thanks so much!

Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 10,210
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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Customer reply replied 27 days ago
I gave you a five star. I appreciate your patience and your help.
You are too kind thanks!!
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