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? legal firing

Discussion in 'Termination: Firing & Resignation' started by mcbarr1, Aug 27, 2008.

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  1. mcbarr1

    mcbarr1 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I have worked for a medical corporation of doctors for 5 years. I do medical billing for 2 doctors in the group. I was recently asked to take on another new doctor and was offered a $1.00 an hour increase in pay. I asked one of the doctors if this was a set offer or could we talk about it. I wanted 12.00 an hour. He and I sat for almost a half hour and discussed the raise. He told me he saw no problems with getting me 12.00 an hour. When the office manager was told she was not happy that I went to the doctor and talked to him about it. Then last week I was asked to work in another doctors office doing a different job. Because I was asked I said no. Then they came to me and told me I had to work in this other office and that I had no choice. I got mad and walked out of the one doctors office that we were talking in. I left early that day because I was having chest pains and a headache (panic attacks). I worked Friday in the other doctors office because I knew I would get into trouble if I didn't. On Monday I came in was doing my work when the office manager asked if she could talk to me. I went into her office where she asked why I left early on Thursday. I told I was having panic attacks and was very distracted and couldn't work. She asked why I didn't tell anybody why I left early and I told her I didn't think about that. She then begins to tell me that I am not a team player (even though I worked in many different positions for the past 5 years). She told me that she knows I am not happy at Pioneer and that Pioneer can never pay me enough to make me happy, so today is your last day at Pioneer. I was shocked. I have no warnings, for write ups or anything in my file. How can they fire me because they know I am not happy?
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2008
  2. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    Because there is no law that says they can't.

    Walking off the job without notifying anyone is a very good way to get fired almost anywhere, and no law in any state requires that you be given a warning before you can be fired.
     
  3. presutin

    presutin Moderator

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    Job abandonment is what they based their decision to fire you upon. You didn't return to the original office from where you left abruptly so the manager probably found out through others where you were at.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2008
  4. mcbarr1

    mcbarr1 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    So even though I did not leave the building only the area where the confrontation was taking place this is considered abandament? I did not leave the building until 4-5 hours later, which was only 2 hours before my usual time to leave.
     
  5. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    There is no legal definition of job abandonment. An employer is more or less free to decide for themselves what they consider job abandonment. What time you left the building is irrelevant; the point is that you did not return to work.
     
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  6. presutin

    presutin Moderator

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    What you seem to be missing here is that no one in the building knew where you were at and if your boss was looking for you for any reason and could not find you, what could she have assumed? You are someone that is in demand on the marketplace. Take the high road and find yourself a medical practice to work at that will compensate you accordingly and that will offer you a healthier work environment. Best of luck to you!
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2008
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  7. mcbarr1

    mcbarr1 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    The more that I have thought about that conversation, it wasn't on why I left early. It was mainly because I asked for a raise. The office manager is always giving us more and more work and new tasks to our job decriptions but gives nothing in return. We take problems to her that should be job to do, but she tells us to do it. Her exact words for why I was being let go was because you are not happy and we can never pay you enough to be happy. How can they decide whether I am happy or not. Is that enough of a reason to terminate my job? By the way people come and go in our office all the time without having to report to anybody they left.
     
  8. presutin

    presutin Moderator

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    The fact that you have asked for a raise because of an increase on the workload would not have made any difference if the employer decided that dismissal would be in their best intererst. An employer can fire anyone at will, so no matter how much you look back trying to justify the reason why you were let go, the bottom line is - the job is not yours anymore. I would definitely move on and find a practice to work for that will definitely appreciate your loyalty and skills!
     
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  9. mcbarr1

    mcbarr1 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I am having trouble moving on becauseI don't know what I did. If they were going to fire me why didn't they do it on Friday, before I worked the other office. Why did they wait until after I was a team player to fire me for not be a team player? They paid for for unused vacation time, do they owe for me accured vacation and sick time for this year?
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2008
  10. jacksgal

    jacksgal Super Moderator

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    The why is unimportant you have bigger worries. Like finding new job.
     
  11. presutin

    presutin Moderator

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    The timing of your dismissal only your employer knows why they did it how they did it; now, as far as the sick time and accrued vacation time, it all will come down to what your former company's policy was for those items. Since I don't know what they are, I unfortunately, will not be able to tell you.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2008
  12. mcbarr1

    mcbarr1 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    If i was to consult a layer on these issues what kind of lawyer would I need to look for? Thank you for all your help.
     
  13. presutin

    presutin Moderator

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    An employment attorney. No problem. Glad I could help!
     
  14. jacksgal

    jacksgal Super Moderator

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    Labor law Attorney
     
  15. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    They do not owe you for unused sick time; no state requires the unconditional payout of sick time. ONLY if there is a legally binding contract, policy or CBA saying otherwise does sick time need to be paid out.

    Whether or not unused vacation time needs to be paid out is a function of state law and you have not provided us with your state.
     
  16. mcbarr1

    mcbarr1 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    The state is Pa. I have read the handbook they gave me when I was hired in 2003 (which was written in 2000). I understand about the sick days, I had already used all of mine when I was off on medical leave in april and may. They paid me for my unused vacation for this year. I had 86 hours. But what about the accrued vacation days from Jan-Aug of this year that would have been used for next year? Am I able to collect from them. Since I work for a company of about 45 people, can I appeal my firing because one supervisor approved my raise, but the other supevisor got mad because I didn't go to her. Thank you thank you thank you
     
  17. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    In PA, you only have to be paid for unused time AT ALL if a policy specifically says you will. I know of no state where you EVER have to be paid for time that you would have earned in future.

    You are free to make an internal appeal of the firing, but it appears to be a legal firing and they are free to disregard you.
     
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  18. mcbarr1

    mcbarr1 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    If you have been terminated from your job, can you old employer give a bad recomendation to a possible new employer? Do they disclose why you were terminated? I asked 3 doctors where I had worked for references/recommedations and 2 said they gladly would, but the third said yes but she would be honest, because she knew why I was let go. (I am glad she knows, because I don't)
     
  19. presutin

    presutin Moderator

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    There are limitations on what a company can disclose when it comes to references. Many companies only disclose date of employment, date of separation and title due to liability issues. If I were you, I would give references that you know you can rely on because they know your work history and not the reason why you were let go. Good luck to you!
     
  20. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    However, an employer is not limited to only the dates, etc. They may say anything that is true, that they honestly believe to be true, or that represents their honest and supportable opinion.

    Although many employers believe that there is liability involved in giving anything but neutral information, that liability is far less than is generally believed. If the information provided is true, the employer has no legal liability. In fact, almost all states there are laws holding the employer harmless as long as the information is not false and not misleading.

    2 points: A few years ago I was at a conference where this question came up. The leader of the seminar asked if anyone in the room (200 or more HR professionals) had EVER been sued because of a bad reference. No one had. Then the leader asked if anyone had ever HEARD of such a suit being filed against anyone they knew. One person had, but the suit was dismissed.

    The other point; on another board I have a standing challenge for anyone to find me a case where an employer was successfully sued because of a negative, but truthful reference which was not misleading and where there was no malice involved. That challenge has stood unanswered for five years.

    Bad references are not illegal. Only false references are illegal.

    All that being said, if your overall references are positive, even if a single one has some negative information it should not be a deal killer.
     
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