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Wrongfully terminated???

Discussion in 'Termination: Firing & Resignation' started by pdouglas, Nov 3, 2011.

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  1. pdouglas

    pdouglas Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I was working for a company for 2 months when I started getting an intense pain in my right side. I thought it may be my appendix so I called off work the next day to go to er. Tests showed it was a hernia and was told to not do anything for 7 days. I notified my employer immediately and told them I had a note from doctor. When my 7 days were up I notified employer about coming back to work and they told me I was terminated because of their "no show-no call" policy because they did not see my doctor's note. I did not file a workers comp claim and cannot receive help from anyone. Is there anything I can do? Is it illegal for them to fire me? Thank you for any input.
     
  2. jacksgal

    jacksgal Super Moderator

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    Did you give your employer the Doctor's note or just tell them about it?
     
  3. esteele

    esteele New Member

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    I hope you are healed and otherwise restored. I also wish I could tell you how to successfully sue your employer for violating your rights. I unfortunately I probably cannot.

    If the hernia resulted from your activities at work, I do not perceive any reason why you should not explore pursuing a workers compensation claim. Why haven’t you filed? Absent a very good reason, you should do so immediately.

    With respect to your discharge, if you were employed on an “at-will” basis, then your employer could terminate you. The fact your employer may not have adhered to its employee handbook with respect to doctor’s notes is probably of no moment.

    With that said, you have nothing to lose by reviewing your employee handbook closely. If, as I suspect, there is one or more prominent disclaimers in your handbook essentially asserting that you are an employee at-will and that the employer can abrogate the policies set forth therein with impunity, then you do not appear to have any basis for challenging your discharge based on the fact the company did not follow its own procedures. IF, however, such a disclaimer does not exist in the handbook, then you should contact a local attorney to explore a breach of implied-in-fact contract action to challenge your discharge.

    An implied-in-fact contract action is a LONG shot here. But, long shots happen. (Ask Ohio State or Michigan State in their recent upset wins over Wisconsin.) There are still a few employers who issue employee handbooks without sufficient disclaimers to maintain the employee at-will work relationship. Again, you have nothing to lose in exploring all of the foregoing options.
     
  4. sunnymoon

    sunnymoon New Member

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    It is really ridiculous when they applied the "no show-no call" policy even you called and let them know about your health problem.

    As long as you have the doctor's note now, you are fine. How about people who can not go to the work place to give the doctor's note until they recover? They can not terminate you because you did not give them the doctor note on time.

    If you really want to continue working at that company, you should hire lawyer to get the job back. However, I do think it is a good place to work because it effect badly to your health. In addition, through this wrongful termination, you obviously know that this company is "TOO NICE" to work with.
     
  5. esteele

    esteele New Member

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    “As long as you have the doctor's note now, you are fine. How about people who can not go to the work place to give the doctor's note until they recover? They can not terminate you because you did not give them the doctor note on time.” I wish Sunnymoon’s above assessment was correct. Unfortunately, it is not.

    If you are an “employee at-will,” your employer can terminate you for any reason as long as said reason does not violate a law or a contract. As unreasonable as it sounds, an employer can discharge an at-will employee for not producing a doctor’s note even though the employee was at home, hospitalized or otherwise not at work. Harsh? Yes. Unlawful? No.

    If the OP had job protection under a union contract or civil service protection, things could be different. Or, if the OP was eligible for protection under the Family Medical Leave Act, he could have some measure of recourse. However, none of these exceptions to the employment at-will doctrine appear to exist here.

    You should consider following Sunnymoon’s advice with respect to contacting an attorney directly. I suspect, though, he or she will tell you do not have a cause of action for the foregoing reasons.
     
  6. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    It's actually difficult to tell whether there is a case. This is because the company cited a specific policy violation for the termination of the employee. If the company cited no reason, there would probably be no case. Companies cannot simply ignore their own policies. They are in place for a reason. Question - would this mean that if the ex-employee filed for unemployment benefits, would this be challenged for cause - the violation of company policy?

    The real question, IMHO, is whether there is any real compensation that is sufficient to be awarded even if you're right. I'm not sure. If CBG is around, she might be able to weight in on this.
     
  7. jacksgal

    jacksgal Super Moderator

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    I believe the problem here is the fact that OP never gave Doctors note to employer. That is why it was a no call no show! It is employees place to get note to employer via a friend or whatever means. The employer does not have to take employees word on issue nor does employer have to wait for employees return for said note. Its unfortunate but it appears a lawful firing. I do agree CBG is the one who will know the actual answer
     
  8. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Terminating "at will" employment by either party is not an illegal act.

    An employee is free to quit at anytime.

    An employee isn't legally required to even say "I quit".

    There could be some employer protocols that violates, but it won't prohibit the employee from collecting any wages owed and outstanding.

    An employer is free to terminate an employee at anytime.

    And, just like the employee, a reason need not be supplied.

    It may not be nice to hear an employer tell an employee, "Give me your badge, and the guard will escort you to the door."

    The employer may be required to supply the final payment for wages at the time of dismissal, or within 24 hours, or even a week after the fact.

    The laws vary across the nation.

    OP, in your case, it appears you failed to provide the employer with the physician's note.

    Further, it seems you did not call in daily to report your outage.

    Yes, an employer can require an employee to call in daily while you are absent.

    Generally, employers are not as harsh as this one appears to have been.

    But, in this economy, some employers are not as amenable to compromise, as in a booming economy.

    If you hold a lower paying job, this also is usually the case; albeit sadly.

    OP, I see no basis for a legal action.

    But, do the smart thing, consult with an attorney in your county.

    Don't just take the word of some stranger on the internet.

    Good luck, and I wish you a speedy and complete recovery!



    You can do some research on your own, OP at these websites.

    http://stepterlaw.com/general/what-...ans-for-wrongful-termination-lawsuits-in-ohio

    http://www.worhatchlaw.com/FAQEmploymentLaw.shtml#at_will


     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2011
  9. esteele

    esteele New Member

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    “This is because the company cited a specific policy violation for the termination of the employee. If the company cited no reason, there would probably be no case. Companies cannot simply ignore their own policies. They are in place for a reason.” I also sincerely wish you were correct, Professor. However, what possible cause of action would the OP have? If his employer has prominent disclaimers in its employee handbook (as mentioned above), then the handbook cannot in all likelihood support a breach of implied-in-fact contract. Is there another employment at-will exception possibly applicable here?

    Presuming the OP does not live in Montana, he appears then left without any remedy. The fact the company did not comply with its own policy does not translate into a cognizable cause of action if the OP was otherwise employed as an employee at-will. Unfortunately, at-will companies can lawfully “simply ignore their own policies.”

    I agree the OP would in all likelihood obtain unemployment insurance benefits based on the facts present in his post. He does not appear, however, to have any basis to advance a wrongful discharge claim. I wish he did.

    With that said, if you have a theory which may apply here, please share it with us. I would like to learn something I did not know or fully appreciate. More importantly, the OP would certainly like to know how he can potentially succeed in challenging his discharge.
     
  10. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    Based solely on the information provided, I'm not seeing a legal remedy. The employee had not worked long enough for this employer to qualify for FMLA; Ohio has no state equivalent; outside of FMLA and on rare occasions the ADA or workers comp situations a doctor's note has no force in law - and even if it did the employee does not appear to have turned it in; there is no evidence that any legally binding contract, CBA, or even company policy that was violated by the termination; the poster did not even attempt to file a workers comp claim - and if she did, that would still not make a termination for a no-call, no show illegal.

    If the poster has additional information she has not yet shared with us that she thinks would change the answer, I'd be glad to reassess the situation and I'm sure the other responders would too.
     
  11. swlswl

    swlswl New Member

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    I know of a company that fired a woman because she didn't give notice (to the right person) that she had quit. She notified a low level mgr. instead of the correct mgr.. The mgr said: I can't go by what someone else says, if she didn't tell me she quit, she didn't quit and I'm firing her for a no show. He reflected that in her file so when someone calls for a reference ...bad!
     
  12. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    But not illegal.
     

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