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Wrongful Termination and Slander and Defimation of Character

Discussion in 'Employment, Labor, Work Issues' started by andrewdrapkin, May 11, 2002.

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  1. andrewdrapkin

    andrewdrapkin Law Topic Starter New Member

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    On April 3, 2002, I was called in on a day off for an emergency meeting, that I thought to be a departmental meeting. When I arrived at work one of my supervisors called me into the human resource department, where I was told that I was being fired for making a statement regarding that I would go postal and commit bodily injury to an employee. The company said that it was in their better interest as well as the interest of the employee making the statement to go ahead and discharge my employment. During this meeting, I asked to see any documents pertaining to this accusation, to include names, date, and where this occurred. My supervisor as well as the human resource manager said that I was not privileged to this information. I immediately went ahead and filed for unemployment benefits, and according to Ann (Arizona Unemployment Insurance Rep), she said she spoke to Vicki (Human Resource rep for Haul), and she said quote"We refuse to provide any documentation as well as the statement to the state as well as myself". Two days later I received a letter from AZ Department of Economic Security, stating that I would receive my weekly benefits because Haul refused to provide the appropriate documentation and therefore their experience ratings will be charged. During my meeting with Haul, they failed to allow me to speak on my behalf to whether I actually made this statement or not, and was brought into this meeting under false pretense have a copy of my determination letter from the state, an e mail sent to my manager regarding problems that occurred in my department, an e mail from my supervisor stating what a good job I have been doing.

    I need some help if I have a case or not. To let you know, my managers or human resource never did an investigation on this matter at all. Please e mail me back if you have some help for me, at andrewdrapkin@msn.com.
     
  2. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    I don't know if you have a case for defamation against the company, only against the employee who made the alleged statements. My question to you is whether there were prior complaints and what might motivate the company to fire you on the spot that way.

    That said, if you are an at will employee, you can be terminated at any time and for any reason -- or no reason (unless you are in a state where there is a 'right to work' implmented, from my understanding.) Specialized employment attorneys may be able to speak more on the subject. In this instance the company did not object to your obtaining unemployment benefits or even state that any altercation took place.

     
  3. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    "if you are an at will employee, you can be terminated at any time and for any reason -- or no reason (unless you are in a state where there is a 'right to work' implmented, from my understanding.) "

    That is not correct. Right to work means only that you cannot be forced to join a union in order to get work. It is not the opposite of employment at will. It is quite possible for a state to be an employment at will and a right to work state both. In fact, since 49 out of 50 states are at-will and since the sole exception (Montana - and even Montana recognizes at-will in some circumstances) is not a right to work state, it can truthfully be said that ALL right to work states are also at-will states.

    You are essentially correct regarding the definition of at will, however. Barring a contract that says otherwise, an employee in an at-will state can quit for any reason, at any time, with or without notice, and can be fired at any time, with or without notice, for any reason that does not specifically violate the law.
     
  4. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    I should have been clearer with regard to the meaning of that exception, which is frequently misunderstood. The protection afforded by right to work is as stated, that you cannot be fired for your failure to join a union and thus you can work as a non-union employee. In such an instance you cannot be fired for this reason.

     
  5. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    I think we're pretty much in agreement here: I said that in an at-will state, an employee can be fired for any reason that does not violate the law. I would agree that in a right-to-work state, firing an employee for refusing to join a union would violate the law.

    However, I would not agree that in a right-to-work state, an employee who is working as a non-union employee cannot be fired at all.

    None of which is applicable to our poster's situation.
     

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