Ask a Legal Question
  1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    7
    Thanks
    3
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Can I sue for wrongful termination? Can my employer sue me???

    Jurisdiction / State: Texas

    I have worked for this company for just shy of 7 years, since it was opened. I have served faithfully, without any problems until a few months ago. The original owner took on some investors who ultimately retained 51% of the company. They decided to make things more corporate, which one would think would be a GREAT thing to happen at a small business. Unfortunately, the person they hired is driving the company into the ground, and making its employees miserable in the process. Within one month, 2 people were terminated for no reason and at least 6 people quit/resigned for similar reasons. There are maybe 50 employees in total that work here.

    This past Saturday we had 3 teams expected to be at work. I, the "regional manager", was given an idea from a co-worker that we should take a stand and "no show" to the events. The idea was to collectively let them know we were fed up and ask for this "COO" (chief officer of operations) to resign. I am directly in charge of one team, the other 2 are lead by separate "team leaders". All people were told that I and some others were planning on just taking the day off to send a message to the investors/owner. If they wanted to join in, it would be appreciated, but to make their own decision. All crews and people live/work in different areas of Texas, I had face to face interaction with only one of my staff, the rest were either at home or traveling in other company vehicles.

    Everything went pretty much as planned, until the COO started calling everyone and they started taking his threats seriously. Most stood strong, but one person from Dallas showed up for their event to let clients know the event had been cancelled. Two from Houston showed up for work as scheduled. None from San antonio showed up. Each team consists of approx. 4 to 5 employees. A letter to the investors was emailed to outline why this action was taken and what we expected, resignation from COO and to discuss pay and work schedules in the near future.

    In the aftermath, I was terminated via voicemail and given no reason but that I should call him (the COO), which I did not. The Dallas team leader was terminated via text message, given no reason, and just so happened that the day this occurred was his first day of a previously approved vacation. The Houston team leader was terminated via text message and told to call, was told by COO that she was terminated for having knowledge that this activity took place and for not showing up for work when called in...he expects people to be "on call" yet we have no such policy. Only the 3 of us were given termination notices.

    My questions are...

    Do any of us have a wrongful termination suit, in my case I am especially curious that I can be terminated for the same thing that was done by others who in turn kept their job?



    Can the employer sue any of us/me for anything in this situation? He made threats to people about suing for lost revenue, etc.

    Is there an issue of illegally unionizing (I cant imagine there is such a thing) even though this was a spur of the moment, last minute decision made by individuals at their own free will???

    At this point I have made contact with only the investors and the original owner and expressed to them that if I am in fact terminated it would need to come from them, ultimately in writing, as I was never informed that this person was my "boss" and merely viewed him as a pain in the ass co-worker. Please help, looking for answers and advice as to what my next step should be. For the record, I had planned on quitting; and in the case I am terminated with no legal recourse coming my way I have no problem moving on, filing for unemployment, and hunting for a new job.

    thanks!

  2. jacksgal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    3,517
    Thanks
    48
    Thanked 281 Times in 281 Posts
    Do any of us have a wrongful termination suit, in my case I am especially curious that I can be terminated for the same thing that was done by others who in turn kept their job?
    Wrongful termination is a termination that violates existing law, cba or, employment contract. Your post doe snot suggest any of these

    Can the employer sue any of us/me for anything in this situation? He made threats to people about suing for lost revenue, etc.
    Anyone can sue anyone for anything at any time the trick is winning

    Is there an issue of illegally unionizing (I cant imagine there is such a thing) even though this was a spur of the moment, last minute decision made by individuals at their own free will???
    You did not Unionize you failed to show up for work. You are not a union!
    For non legal parenting help go to www.parentnook.com

  3. The Following User Says Thank You to jacksgal For This Useful Post:

    ultracdw (10-11-2011)

  4. #3

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    7
    Thanks
    3
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    I guess I should rephrase, do they have a case to sue me? The revenue for these events is projected, aside from a handful of pre paid clients, the rest is based on scheduled appointments. Any event can have from 25% show ups to 100% show ups, but we never know until once the event has been completed. Just guessing, the one for my team directly would've been about 60%.

  5. #4
    jacksgal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    3,517
    Thanks
    48
    Thanked 281 Times in 281 Posts
    Anyone can sue anyone at anytime for any reason! Can they sue? Yes Will they win? doubtful
    For non legal parenting help go to www.parentnook.com

  6. The Following User Says Thank You to jacksgal For This Useful Post:

    ultracdw (10-11-2011)

  7. #5
    Super Moderator Samaritan & Scholar
    army judge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Pago Pago
    Posts
    14,561
    Thanks
    247
    Thanked 1,532 Times in 1,512 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by ultracdw View Post
    I guess I should rephrase, do they have a case to sue me? The revenue for these events is projected, aside from a handful of pre paid clients, the rest is based on scheduled appointments. Any event can have from 25% show ups to 100% show ups, but we never know until once the event has been completed. Just guessing, the one for my team directly would've been about 60%.
    You could be sued for tortious interference with their business.

    Will they?

    Probably not.

    Why?

    They just want you gone. They've accomplished that by firing you.

    There is no specific way that an employer must terminate you.

    Unemployment?

    Sure file. Expect some difficulty.

    Will you get UI?

    Hard to say. It might be difficult, if they fight you.

    Good luck.

    I won't comment on your "work stoppage", other than to say, you probably shouldn't ever try that again!

  8. #6

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    7
    Thanks
    3
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    if they sued, would i have a defense? I sent a 4 page letter 5 weeks prior to all of this regarding all of our issues and concerns, including a few unethical and seemingly illegal (im like 99% sure its illegal to do a certain thing or two we were being asked to do) tasks. theyre response was "thank you for your comments and concerns, we will look into it. have a great weekend" and we never heard back a single word.

    ...and normally, i wouldnt have done something like this. but frankly i was going to put in my notice next monday anyway, i have had it with these people.

  9. #7

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    7
    Thanks
    3
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Im also considering contacting the Texas Department of Health (and/or similar organizations) as well as the attorney generals office. This company had issues in the past, and very little has changed. 2 of our big concerns in the letter i mentioned earlier were that some of our equipment was faulty...to a point that any law abiding person would know better...and we were being asked (for years) to create what was referred to as "corrections" to Prescription to Order forms. Basically, this form states that the patient can have the ultrasound tests we perform, has the Dr's signature, etc. on the bottom. When our scheduling department mis-spelled names (all the time) or when we had walk ins, we created one of these. Then there is the issue of the cleaner being used for cleaning the "beds"...half and half alcohol/water. this is just the tip of the iceberg.

  10. #8
    jacksgal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    3,517
    Thanks
    48
    Thanked 281 Times in 281 Posts
    None of which has any relation to your "sick out"
    For non legal parenting help go to www.parentnook.com

  11. #9

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    7
    Thanks
    3
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    huh?? I dont understand

  12. #10
    Registered User Distinguished Member

    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    76
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 6 Times in 6 Posts
    You essentially “organized” a wildcat strike to highlight your dissatisfaction with the COO and other work conditions. Unfortunately for you and other strikers, management responded by terminating your employment.

    You do not appear to have a potential cause of action for wrongful discharge. An employer can terminate an employee for not showing up for work. You and the others would have been far better served by doing your homework in order to endeavor first to organize as a union. If you had sought to organize, you would have certain protections under the National Labor Relations Act. Instead, by taking this wildcat action, you do not appear to have any recourse under the law.

    The “illegal unionizing” contention appears to be a canard. Generally, even in at-will employment/right to work jurisdictions, an employee can refuse to go work for whatever reason he or she deems fit. Of course, though, the employer generally retains the corollary right to discipline or discharge an employee for failing to come to work. The employment at-will relationship does not generally allow an employer to sue for lost profits resulting from an employee’s absence from work. As a result, the threats concerning lawsuits over lost revenue appear empty.

    In summary, it appears you “misread” the tea leaves. Even assuming everything you say about the COO is correct, the investors brought him in revamp the company. At the moment, at least, he has the investors’ support. Accordingly, no apparent reason existed to believe the investors would side with you and/or the other strikers here.

    Finally, I do not perceive how you or the other strikers will obtain unemployment insurance benefits. Your former employer will likely successfully contend that your refusal to show up to work constitutes disqualifying misconduct.

  13. The Following User Says Thank You to esteele For This Useful Post:

    ultracdw (10-11-2011)

  14. #11

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    7
    Thanks
    3
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Thank you, I appreciate your in depth take on my situation. Thats more or less what I assumed. Other than that I figure I have a 50/50 shot at unemployment...so it would be silly not to at least file for it. I wish I could get into depth about the work environment situation but it would take a novel worth to do so... but believe me, even if they sue me, it was sooo worth it.

  15. #12

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    7
    Thanks
    3
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    The Friday before 2 (the CPA and HR Manager) people gave notice, 1 (the HR Manager) quit on the spot when being told they would "pay the consequences" by the COO. Saturday, or D Day, as I am referring to it was when they canned the 3 most skilled and tenured staff they had, and this Monday morning 3 more people walked out and quit that work in sensitive departments. Additionally, 3 sales reps have submitted letters of dissatisfaction to the investors, one of which is responsible for at least 1/3 of the total revenue. I believe they plan to group together and march into the investors office later this week.

    Basically, the COO is a pompous ASS and the investors are oblivious to the fact that they are hemorrhaging money because of his decisions. Its only a matter of time before more people leave and/or they go out of business. Its a damn shame that its going to happen, so many people worked so hard for so many years only to watch it be destroyed in a matter of months.

Similar Threads

  1. Can my previous employer sue me?
    By maryg1083 in forum Employment, Labor, Work Issues
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 09-30-2009, 09:03 AM
  2. Can you sue employer for lying?
    By makirks in forum Employment, Labor, Work Issues
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 06-20-2009, 07:00 PM
  3. Can Ex-Employer Sue Employee? HELP!!!
    By TwinGuns18 in forum Employment, Labor, Work Issues
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 09-19-2008, 02:28 PM
  4. Termination/Appeal/Sue
    By voidmoon4 in forum Termination: Firing & Resignation
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 09-01-2008, 01:45 AM
  5. Can I sue my employer???
    By tjmcneill in forum Workers Compensation
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 10-21-2007, 07:17 PM

Log in

Log in