Employment Law/Termination

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Question
I was employed 7yrs and 8mos. Last year I was having some performance issues. Around that time I went on medical leave r/t a breakdown and was hospitalized. I was on medical leave for approximately 4mos. I went back to work and things appeared to be fine. During my time back, I had an issue with H.R. and submitted a complaint. I was told by the Administrator that I was paranoid. I continued to perform my tasks but had some write ups. Apart of my write ups was a plan of action that my supervisor was to oversee, which never happend. I was eventually let go when I attempted to assist a clients family in resolving a complaint. My colleague was not happy with the conversation I had with him and the family member. I was called into HR and asked to give my statement, which I did. I was then suspended and two days later terminated. Is my termination legal since no follow thruough was performed by HR or my supervisor for said write ups. Also, the company is fighting my unemployment related to my performance.

Answer
Teresa - Employees do not have a right to have any particular HR plan followed, so your supervisor's failure to follow through on your performance improvement plan is of no consequence as to your termination.  However, it might be a good argument for you to use in fighting for your unemployment comp benefits.

Understand that employees work for their employers "at will," unless there is a written employment agreement that states otherwise.  This means you can be fired for any reason that is not illegal, usually limited to discrimination based on age, race, religion, national origin, gender, etc.  However, unemployment is for employees who lose their jobs due to no fault of their own.  If you were supposed to have your supervisor's help in improving your work performance, and did not receive it, you may be able to persuade the UC agency that your termination was not your fault, but the fault of the employer's failure to provide you with guidance on what they expected from you.  It isn't a guaranteed win, but it's a decent argument.

Good luck.

Employment Law

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Margaret M. deMarteleire

Expertise

I can answer most questions about employment law, federal or state. I am an attorney, not an HR professional, so questions about HR careers, coursework, prospects, etc. are not within my scope.

Experience

Attorney for 20 years, currently working exclusively with employment law - FLSA, FMLA, federal contracts, pay, etc.

Education/Credentials
Temple University School of Liberal Arts, BA, Rhetoric & Communication, 1982 Temple University School of Law, JD, 1990 Certificate in HR, Cornell University ILR School, 2006

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