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Fired over a customer complaint, but...

Discussion in 'Termination: Firing & Resignation' started by JayBe, Jun 7, 2017.

  1. JayBe

    JayBe Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hello! So let's get right into it, I was fired over a customer complaint and no surprise here - she manipulated the situation and twisted my words. It was just one of those days where the store was very busy, long lines and the heat got the best of us so certain customers will cause an altercation over anything especially if they're already in a bad mood. Here's my problem... I understand that I am at will to get fired for any legal reason, but this was my first corporate complaint from a customer and I was recently recognized by a district manager for my excellent customer service. I don't just think it was unfair to fire me, but the fact that it took one complaint to fire a low position employee compared to the numerous complaints my coworkers and I sent to corporate about two managers in the last year. First manager (assistant): made two employees work off the clock, refused to give a third employee her 15 minute break even though she worked for 6+ hours at that point, and stormed off and snapped at any employee (including me) whenever she didn't want to hear any problems we needed to solve with a manager. Second manager (Store Manager): Refused to excuse an employee's hospital note and had her come into work 2-3 days after a car accident, refused my doctor's note even though it said I should not come into work for 3-4 days because I had a respiratory infection and when I called in, I could barely speak and he told me to just take some medicine and come in, he doesn't care about the employees, he's snapped at quite a few of us, and many other problems occurred between management and the employees... And the majority of these complaints made from employees were reported to corporate and they both got off the hook with just a "talk" and nothing was said to us following the complaints and nothing was done to change their management behavior. So I am upset that I got fired over one measly complaint compared to them, what can I do? Do I have a case or is it worth taking some sort of legal action against this company?
     
  2. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    You are very naive about how work works. Managers are bosses who work for other bosses. Bosses don't fire managers because employees complain about them. Learn that well and don't expect it to ever happen.

    In fact, complaining to bosses about bosses is a good way to get yourself fired even without customer complaints about you.

    File for unemployment and look for another job.

    No to both parts of that question.
     
  3. hrforme

    hrforme Active Member

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    Agree with everything Jack posted and will add that the company can decide to treat lower level employees different than managers. Managers have much more discretion on how they handle things. Making lots of complaints about your manager (unless truly a legal issue like sexual harassment or other illegal discrimination, fraud, theft, etc) won't usually get you much.

    Dr's notes have no force in the law unless you are eligible for FMLA (and even then a short sickness isn't eligible) or ADA (which means it has to rise to the level of a disability and timeoff is no always a reasonable accommodation).

    You have no legal action to pursue. You need to worry more about yourself and how you perform than others' issues. If you have a personal wage claim, make it. If you regularly don't get a break under state law or employer policy, let HR know. Snapping at employees is not illegal especially if they complain a lot. One "measly complaint" was obviously enough especially if you had already annoyed the manager/HR with other work complaints.

    The reason they just got a talk was because most wasn't that big of an issue to them. The only one that was is working off the clock and hopefully those two employees got that solved.
     
  4. JayBe

    JayBe Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I guess I should have included that I only made one complaint and that was 8 months ago, all other complaints were made by my coworkers. Either way, I've done some research after the first response about complaining to an employer's employer can play a role in the reason for firing someone and what I found was... should someone get fired following any complaints they made about their employers - they indeed have a possible winning case and can pursue legal action. So HR can find our complaints annoying and what not, but it would be in our favor if our previous complaints about a manager's behavior had anything to do with our job being terminated and even if it wasn't, we are still able to use it as a case. I guess I should get legal advice from a local lawyer's office, rather than online though right? So what do I know? Heh. Thanks anyway!
     
  5. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    Based on what you have posted you do not have any kind of case whatsoever. There are protected complaints and non-protected complaints. Yours was the non-protected kind. If you want to pay an attorney to tell you the same thing be my guest but unless you've left out major facts you're dead in the water.
     
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  6. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Not much you can do, LEGALLY.

    You can update your resume, hit the bricks seeking new employment, let it go, learn not to allow others to cause you to "lose your cool", and use this as one of many life lessons you have YET to learn!
     
  7. JayBe

    JayBe Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Well, regarding my last response... I'm not actually going to pursue anything that resonates with that reasoning because my complaint was 8 months ago, long before I could use that as having any part in my firing to pursue a lawsuit. I was responding to the posts that mentioned how all my annoying complaints could have anything to do with me being fired. And with that, I said I only made one complaint - the rest were from my coworkers. Although, if I had made a complaint as recently as 1-2 months ago... I would have a case under the assumption that this could have anything to do with the decision for my termination. I'm not the first to get customer complaints, most employees just get a write up. Since my complaint 8 months ago, I haven't been on good terms with my store manager so I am questioning the hasty decision of letting me go and the way big corporations work in handling certain situations when it comes down to low level employees compared to high... Even if they're not doing anything legally wrong, it's the integrity of things. Why should we get treated like we're not human too just because we get paid a lower wage? I guess nothing will be resolved anyway, not the way I want it to be. Fuck it. I'm not even upset anymore. Lol.
     
  8. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Never let them see you sweat.

    They hate it when you smile, especially when they want to make you cry.
     
  9. JayBe

    JayBe Law Topic Starter New Member

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    THANK YOU for not making me feel like "Omg, it's one of those employees" in your response... Same to the person that responded before you - Cbg. I shall let it go, look for another job, and just tell myself this is life man... This is the real world and the real world is cruel.
     
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  10. hrforme

    hrforme Active Member

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    It's enough that you "haven't been on good terms with my store manager" to terminate you regardless of a customer complaint or any complaints you or others made to higher management. It's called "at will" employment.

    There are some exceptions IF your complaint is about legally protected issues (sexual harassment, discrimination due to a protected characteristic, etc). You have shown none of those. So no, it's not illegal to terminate you for complaining about your manager. That won't get you a winning case anywhere unless there is a protected reason behind it.
     
  11. txls

    txls Well-Known Member

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    Well integrity is not always present in employment situations and neither is "fairness". Neither of those things are regulated. Neither of them will ever be. Questions of integrity and fairness are subject to the opinions of the individuals and what side of the fence you are on. Keep looking until you find a work place and management that you feel compatible with.
     
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  12. leslie82

    leslie82 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah you should get LEGAL advice from a lawyer as this site does not and cannot dispense LEGAL advice. Did you not read the disclaimer? Here I'll post it for you:

    Legal Disclaimer: The content appearing on our website is for general information purposes only. When you submit a question or make a comment on our site or in our law forum, you clearly imply that you are interested in receiving answers, opinions and responses from other people. The people providing legal help and who respond are volunteers who may not be lawyers, legal professionals or have any legal training or experience. The law is also subject to change from time to time and legal statutes and regulations vary between states. It is possible that the law may not apply to you and may have changed from the time a post was made. All information available on our site is available on an "AS-IS" basis. It is not a substitute for professional legal assistance. Before making any decision or accepting any legal advice, you should have a proper legal consultation with a licensed attorney with whom you have an attorney-client privilege. For purposes of New York and New Jersey State ethics rules, please take notice that this website and its case reviews may constitute attorney advertising.
     

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