U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Covid-19 Information Page
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Work and Employment > Unemployment
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 05-25-2012, 09:59 PM
 
Location: New Jersey
461 posts, read 837,086 times
Reputation: 330

Advertisements

NJ is an at will state, meaning they can fire you for basically no reason. Well, I believe my previous employer did that.

I worked for the same place for 8 years. Within those eight years I've had maybe a handful of write ups. I had 2 write ups within the last year of employment, that I refused to sign because they were BS write ups and my boss said he would take care of them and not worry about them. So, I figured everything was fine.

Some time passes and I go into work only to find out that I am being fired (this happened in Oct. 2011). The reason for me being fired is that I didn't meet their expectations or whatever. The manager had the gall to write on the back of the termination paper that he tried working with me and I had a poor attitude. None of it was true. He never tried working with me. Whenever there was complaints about me, he said don't listen to the complaints and that was just the person being cranky and so forth. He told me that I was doing fine and keep doing what I'm doing. He had even told me that I was the best person he had!

So when he gave me the termination paper, I was so furious that I signed the paper and left. I kept my mouth shut and didn't fight it, because frankly the job had become such a stressful place--it gave my mother a heart attack and I myself felt always on edge. I was -happy- to be gone from there, only to be relieved from the stress.

WELL Long story short, every place that I have interviewed with has asked me why I left that job. I tell the truth. I tell them that I was fired and give them the reason. Each employer that I have told this to, has questioned me why I didn't fight it because it sounds like wrongful termination. I explained that I didn't think that I could. Now, I'm beginning to wonder if I can/should fight it?

I'm having a hard time finding a job like everyone else. I feel like by telling the truth, I am hurting my chances of being hired elsewhere--but I also can't bring myself to lie either. I don't know what to do.

Suggestions?
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 05-25-2012, 10:15 PM
 
Location: California
4,402 posts, read 12,266,003 times
Reputation: 3136
Quote:
Originally Posted by vitalaeon View Post
NJ is an at will state, meaning they can fire you for basically no reason. Well, I believe my previous employer did that.

Legally, an employer can fire you for no reason or for any reason. As long as it is a legal reason. In fact, under the "at will doctrine" they don't even have to tell you why they are firing you.

I worked for the same place for 8 years. Within those eight years I've had maybe a handful of write ups. I had 2 write ups within the last year of employment, that I refused to sign because they were BS write ups and my boss said he would take care of them and not worry about them. So, I figured everything was fine.

Whether or not they counted, not signing them was probably a mistake. The write up signature only states that you received the write up, not that you agree with it. Not signing write ups, can, and have been seen as insubordination. You say your boss is saying that he tried to work with you and that you were not open or cooperative. He very likely used your failing to sign to show this was in fact how you were behaving.

Some time passes and I go into work only to find out that I am being fired (this happened in Oct. 2011). The reason for me being fired is that I didn't meet their expectations or whatever.

This is a perfectly legal reason.

The manager had the gall to write on the back of the termination paper that he tried working with me and I had a poor attitude. None of it was true. He never tried working with me. Whenever there was complaints about me, he said don't listen to the complaints and that was just the person being cranky and so forth. He told me that I was doing fine and keep doing what I'm doing. He had even told me that I was the best person he had!

Doesn't matter. Even if you were really their best employee, they still can fire you. They can give you a glowing review and legally fire you the next day.

So when he gave me the termination paper, I was so furious that I signed the paper and left. I kept my mouth shut and didn't fight it, because frankly the job had become such a stressful place--it gave my mother a heart attack and I myself felt always on edge. I was -happy- to be gone from there, only to be relieved from the stress.

WELL Long story short, every place that I have interviewed with has asked me why I left that job. I tell the truth. I tell them that I was fired and give them the reason. Each employer that I have told this to, has questioned me why I didn't fight it because it sounds like wrongful termination. I explained that I didn't think that I could. Now, I'm beginning to wonder if I can/should fight it?

No, there is nothing in your termination that rises to the level of wrongful termination. People say this all the time as there is a lot of misinformation about what actually constitutes "wrongful termination".

In order to be guilty of wrongful termination, your employer needs to have fired you for a reason that is illegal. The only illegal reasons that qualify as wrongful termination are those that come under the "race, color, religion, sex or natural origin" of Title VII pf the Civil Rights Act of 1964. People think that wrongful termination means that it was unfair. Nope. They think it means you were fired when doing a good job. Nope.


I'm having a hard time finding a job like everyone else. I feel like by telling the truth, I am hurting my chances of being hired elsewhere--but I also can't bring myself to lie either. I don't know what to do.

Suggestions?
The legal definition of wrongful termination is here:
http://legal-dictionary.thefreedicti...ul+termination

The legal definition of at will employment:
http://legal-dictionary.thefreedicti...oyment+at+Will

I suggest that you tell the truth, but spin it into what you have learned. "I was fired, but it was valuable because it taught me how to be a better employee because_______________________"
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-25-2012, 10:28 PM
 
Location: New Jersey
461 posts, read 837,086 times
Reputation: 330
thebunny, thank you for your comments. I kind of figured that I am SOL with the situation. It just blows my mind that you can be fired for whatever reason they want. It especially baffles me that they don't even have to go through the typical process of termination (write ups, suspension, then fired). I just feel like the job is still screwing me over.

I was joking with a friend and told her that if I don't get hired soon, I'm just going to start saying I was laid off, rather than fired. She said that I should since it's illegal for them to ask previous employers anything other than if I worked at that job.

Ah the joys of being honest.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-25-2012, 10:38 PM
 
Location: California
4,402 posts, read 12,266,003 times
Reputation: 3136
Quote:
Originally Posted by vitalaeon View Post
thebunny, thank you for your comments. I kind of figured that I am SOL with the situation. It just blows my mind that you can be fired for whatever reason they want. It especially baffles me that they don't even have to go through the typical process of termination (write ups, suspension, then fired). I just feel like the job is still screwing me over.

I was joking with a friend and told her that if I don't get hired soon, I'm just going to start saying I was laid off, rather than fired. She said that I should since it's illegal for them to ask previous employers anything other than if I worked at that job.

Ah the joys of being honest.
You are out of luck. Unfortunately. But at the same time, the at will works in your favor, as any time you have quit a job, without the at will, the employer could refuse to accept the resignation. Small comfort, I know.

The part of your statement in bold is the biggest myth in the world, #2...right behind the whole wrongful termination thing. Companies OFTEN have POLICIES that govern what they will and will not say to a prospective employer. However there are NO laws requiring them to only tell a certain thing. In fact, the ONLY legal requirement is that the statements are truthful and supported by fact. They can DEFINITELY say you were fired.

There are no federal laws that state what can and can not be disclosed. Nor are there ANY state laws that tell employers they are not able to be truthful. You were fired. If the new company calls the old company and the old one says you were fired, you have no legal recourse. Truth is an absolute defense to defamation, slander, and libel. They would be telling the truth. Be especially careful about writing this down on any applications, as even if you get hired and work for the company for years, you can be fired with no time limit, for lying on an application.

I have included a link to a New Jersey employment lawyer confirming the lack of laws governing references. In fact, to recover anything on a reference in New Jersey, you would have to prove negligence on the part of the person who gave the reference. Never going to happen if all they did was tell the truth that you were fired.

http://www.newjerseyemploymentlawyer...new-jerse.html
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-26-2012, 12:21 AM
 
Location: Seattle, Washington
878 posts, read 1,469,617 times
Reputation: 692
I had a similar situation on my job from 2007-2009... that is I dealt with daily harrassment by a co-worker. It was a mom and pop shop and he was part of the family.

One day after another argument with him a different co-worker asked me if I was going to go postal and I replied "If I did you would be one of the survivors."

The next day I was escorted out by the police with a trespass warning. I got a "lack of work" layoff notice and got UI. Was I laid off? Not really... but they had no paper trail on me even though Georgia is a right to work state. Maybe they were being nice.

At any rate... I tell everyone I was laid off. According to the paperwork I was... and I leave it at that. Who cares about the truth... when you need a job you tell them what they want to hear.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-26-2012, 12:46 AM
 
Location: California
4,402 posts, read 12,266,003 times
Reputation: 3136
The only difference between a "right to work" state and an "at will" state is that in "right to work" states it is illegal to require you to join a union in order to work in the state. That's it.

So, as they gave you a layoff notice, that was great of them...and probably their way of acknowledging that they knew you were not the problem but they were not going to fire family.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-26-2012, 12:51 AM
 
Location: USA
4,980 posts, read 8,728,558 times
Reputation: 2506
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebunny View Post
You are out of luck. Unfortunately. But at the same time, the at will works in your favor, as any time you have quit a job, without the at will, the employer could refuse to accept the resignation. Small comfort, I know.

The part of your statement in bold is the biggest myth in the world, #2...right behind the whole wrongful termination thing. Companies OFTEN have POLICIES that govern what they will and will not say to a prospective employer. However there are NO laws requiring them to only tell a certain thing. In fact, the ONLY legal requirement is that the statements are truthful and supported by fact. They can DEFINITELY say you were fired.

There are no federal laws that state what can and can not be disclosed. Nor are there ANY state laws that tell employers they are not able to be truthful. You were fired. If the new company calls the old company and the old one says you were fired, you have no legal recourse. Truth is an absolute defense to defamation, slander, and libel. They would be telling the truth. Be especially careful about writing this down on any applications, as even if you get hired and work for the company for years, you can be fired with no time limit, for lying on an application.

I have included a link to a New Jersey employment lawyer confirming the lack of laws governing references. In fact, to recover anything on a reference in New Jersey, you would have to prove negligence on the part of the person who gave the reference. Never going to happen if all they did was tell the truth that you were fired.

Reference Checks And New Jersey Employment Law - What Can An Employee Do? - New Jersey Employment Lawyer Blog

I seriously doubt that is the intent of "at will". An employer who doesn't accept the resignation cannot put chains on you and keep you there.
At will simply means the employer or the employee can break the employment at any time.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-26-2012, 12:54 AM
 
Location: NJ
18,668 posts, read 17,936,453 times
Reputation: 7284
Quote:
Originally Posted by nebulous1 View Post
I seriously doubt that is the intent of "at will". An employer who doesn't accept the resignation cannot put chains on you and keep you there.
At will simply means the employer or the employee can break the employment at any time.
It is NOT about restraining one physcially to stay.At will means if they fire me, or I quit, short of EEOC discrimination or a Binding contract, neither party receiving the notice of intent to terminate the situation has legal recourse.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-26-2012, 01:02 AM
 
Location: California
4,402 posts, read 12,266,003 times
Reputation: 3136
Exactly. Nebulous1, read what you just wrote and consider slavery or indentured servitude, as examples. Or a less extreme example...without the at will doctrine, let's suppose you get an excellent job offer in the middle of preparing a key report for your employer...this employer could, and likely would, stop you from leaving and would also very likely receive support from the courts in doing so. The at will doctrine protects you from an employer who does not want to let you leave. At will allows the employer and the employee to sever the employment relationship at any time. It is exactly the intent of the law...it just always feels a little more balanced to the employer.

And, without "at will" an employer most certainly COULD hold you to the employment and not allow you to leave.

"any hiring is presumed to be "at will"; that is, the employer is free to discharge individuals "for good cause, or bad cause, or no cause at all," and the employee is equally free to quit, strike, or otherwise cease work."

Mark A. Rothstein, Andria S. Knapp & Lance Liebman, Cases and Materials on Employment Law (New York: Foundation Press, 1987), 738.

Also consider "The employee must be free to quit at any time, otherwise there is the possibility of involuntary servitude, which is prohibited in the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The doctrine of mutuality of obligations then required a symmetrical right of the employer to terminate the employee at any time. See Smith v. Atlas Off-Shore Boat Service, Inc., 653 F.2d 1057, 1061 (5thCir. 1981)

I think people often forget that the opposite of being able to leave at any time without the employer having recourse is the employee's part of the at will doctrine.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-26-2012, 04:07 AM
 
Location: Seattle, Washington
878 posts, read 1,469,617 times
Reputation: 692
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebunny View Post
The only difference between a "right to work" state and an "at will" state is that in "right to work" states it is illegal to require you to join a union in order to work in the state. That's it.

So, as they gave you a layoff notice, that was great of them...and probably their way of acknowledging that they knew you were not the problem but they were not going to fire family.
That's the way I look at it...

I am quite happy with my current employer. A company with an HR dept. that takes harassment seriously... it's nice to work in a stress free environment. Never again will I work in a mom and pop shop if I can help it.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Work and Employment > Unemployment
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2020, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top