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Employment Law/Written Warning

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Question
I was given a written warning with very vague terms and reasons.  In fact the specific violation was "Inappropriate conversation with clients regarding attorneys whereabouts or personal obligations not related in any way to work product on a repeated basis.  Action from employee;  employee will cease discussing any matters other than work related matter with clients and will not discuss attorneys whereabouts or personal matters.

Seriously, I have been a paralegal at this firm for 15 years and this is something they should have just called me into the office to speak about.  Very vague in what they want.  Others in the office do not fall under the same rules and the officer manager is a bully and created a hostile environment and I believe they are using things they think they hear to force me to quit or fire me.  I am also  Jehovah's Witnesses and since this knowledge has been made known the treatment by my office manager is RUDE - she uses the F Bomb constantly and recently a client walked out because they could hear her rude language and yet nothing was done to this employee at all.

Answer
Elizabeth - You haven't really asked a question, but I am guessing that you want to know what rights you have in this situation.  The answer is, not many.  Employers do not have to have any reason for firing employees -- they can just be in a bad mood and, without a written employment agreement spelling out the acceptable reasons for terminating employment, they can fire on a whim.  You would have to prove that you were being singled out because of your religion if you wanted to file a discrimination complaint, and if the manager curses around everyone, even clients, it doesn't seem as if the language is directed at you particularly.  

If you want to keep the job, keep your conversations with clients to a bare minimum, take messages, and give out no reasons for employees being unavailable to take calls.  

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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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