Do I have a case and how would I find the best lawyer for it

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Latest post 12-14-2012 7:25 PM by Cica. 5 replies.
  • 12-14-2012 2:16 PM

    Do I have a case and how would I find the best lawyer for it

    I was just recently fired from my job and needed advice about what to to.  I to begin with I have been depressed for almost a year from the harassment at my job, to the point on November 30 I had to go see a doctor because I was feeling suicidal and went in to tell them that I have a doctors appointment and I would be back later that day. Will I was at my doctor the diagnosed deppresion and upped my meds that I was already on.  The following Wednesday I was fired, the told me "You are not happy here, and we are not happy with you and we are moving in a different direction."  During the time that I have been there I have very much been harassed them saying "I don't want to have to fire you for this, but.." and they would then go on to say what I was doing wrong.  This is very stressful to me cause it happened pretty much everyday.  My boss has come into my work place that I was teaching and has said she has herpes on her face, gone to the point of saying that she doesn't like her seats in her car because they are heated and she was not wearing underwear and that her privates had stuck to the seats.  Also, they changed my hire date, which I have countless pay checks saying a certain date, so i would not have an extra week of vacation so they could mark me for being out sick and in the hospital.  Many other things to list but didn't feel like writing an essay. I also don't that much money to pay up front. Please help and thank you so much for your time.  Have a blessed holiday

  • 12-14-2012 2:25 PM In reply to

    Re: Do I have a case and how would I find the best lawyer for it

    You aren't really indicating unlawful harassment as such if you refer to people harassing you by preambles of "I don't want to have to fire you for this, but.." and talking about what you were doing wrong.

    Certainly that may be stressful if things don't change in terms of performance (or you simply have "one of those" bosses who likes to criticize), but that doesn't mean it's unlawful behavior.

    "My boss has come into my work place that I was teaching and has said she has herpes on her face, gone to the point of saying that she doesn't like her seats in her car because they are heated and she was not wearing underwear and that her privates had stuck to the seats."

    Well, while these are obviously unprofessional comments, that doesn't make them unlawful.  (Of course, if she repeatedly said things about her privates sticking to her seats 'cause she doesn't wear underwear and didn't stop saying that after you said "Uhm, I don't want to know, thanks" to ask ownership/management to talk with her.  I'd like to think if you're suggesting sexual harassment that you'd have more to say on this topic.) 

    "Also, they changed my hire date, which I have countless pay checks saying a certain date, so i would not have an extra week of vacation so they could mark me for being out sick and in the hospital."

    I'm not clear what you mean by "mark [you] for being out sick and in the hospital" regardless of whether they manipulated dates so as to avoid the benefit of an extra day of vacation.

    "I also don't that much money to pay up front."

    The only reason I can think of for you to say something like this is a belief that the message boards are the place to look for an attorney; they aren't. 

    You haven't indicated FMLA is an issue with regard to your firing, but that they understood you were very unhappy in the job. 

    There are "how to find a lawyer" features here and elsewhere, and local/state bar associations for referrals.

  • 12-14-2012 2:52 PM In reply to

    Re: Do I have a case and how would I find the best lawyer for it

    I apologize for the commet of "I also don't have that much money to pay up front" but I was wondering if there was any lawyers that would do it to be paid after the case instead of before, I don't know that much about lawyers and how they are paid.  Also, the reason for the days of was, I had gotten written up because of days missed and they changed the date because of after 3 years of working for the company you get three weeks off instead of only two.  So they changed it so I would have only been working there for 2 years meaning that I would only get two weeks, while I thought I had 3.  Also, I had talked to them about the sexual comments and also talked to the owner and nothing happened.  Also, just recently the job had settled with another employee that had quit because of sexual harrasment , so there is a history of it with my former boss.  Thank you very much for your comment and look forward to hearing from you again about this matter.

  • 12-14-2012 3:39 PM In reply to

    Re: Do I have a case and how would I find the best lawyer for it

    crystald08:
    I was wondering if there was any lawyers that would do it to be paid after the case instead of before

    On this type of case, unlikely.  As to your original post: First, unless you had a written contract of employment or are/were a member of a union covered by a CBA, you were an at-will employee that could be terminated at any time for no reason at all.  "We're not happy with you and you're not happy with us," isn't an unlawful termination.  Second, federal law as far as harrassment issues goes only applies if there are more than 15 employees.  Colorado's Anti-Discrimination Act applies to all employers except religious organizations.  Third, I really don't see an actionable case for sexual harrassment and a supervisor or the employer noting that you could be fired for mistakes you were making, won't support a case for hostile work environment.  Lastly, it doesn't appear you were fired "for cause" and thus would be eligible for UIB.  You, of course, should consult a local employment attorney for more specific information and assistance. 

  • 12-14-2012 3:53 PM In reply to

    Re: Do I have a case and how would I find the best lawyer for it

    Let me first give you the basic law on this. When the employer is not a government agency, then the employer may legally fire you for any reason (or no reason at all) except for a few reasons prohibited by law. The prohibited reasons include firing you because:

    • of your race, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetic test information under federal law (some states/localities add a few more categories like sexual orientation);
    • you make certain kinds of reports about the employer to the government or in limited circumstances to specified persons in the employing company itself (known as whistle-blower protection laws);
    • you participate in union organizing activities;
    • you use a right or benefit the law guarantees you (e.g. using leave under FMLA);
    • you filed a bankruptcy petition;
    • your pay was garnished by a single creditor or by the IRS; and
    • you took time off work to attend jury duty (in most states).

    So, if this was a private employer, then so long as the reason for firing you wasn't among the sort of things I listed above, your firing was not "wrongful termination" as that term is used in the law. 

    You had a job that was giving you stress. Your boss evidently frequently found fault with your performance, and you were apparently living with the strain of worry about being fired for it. Indeed, it sounds like your supervisor was a bit crude and unprofessional at times. None of that gives you any claim against the employer. Neither federal nor Colorado law guarantees you a stress free job or good supervisor. The law doesn't prohibit bosses from being crude, rude, or just general jerks. Employees either must learn to deal with bosses like that or find a new job.

    If your boss made repeated sexually oriented comments and you found those offensive, the first thing to do is to tell the manager (politely, of course) that you find those comments offensive and ask for them to stop. If that doesn't work, complain to the managers that are senior to your boss. Keep documentation of all your efforts to get it to stop. The employer's obligation is to make sexual harassment stop once you make the employer aware of it. If it continues after you have complained about it, that can give you a civil claim to pursue. If you never complained about it, then they didn't know it bothered you and there is nothing to pursue.

    If you were entitled to use leave (paid or unpaid) under the FMLA and the employer fired you or otherwise took action against for taking it, that is illegal and would give you something to pursue against the employer.

    If you want to see an attorney who litigates wrongful termination cases to review in detail what happened to you for advice on whether you have something to pursue here, contact several in your area and meet with them to see where  you stand. Many will give you a free initial consultation and, if you have a good case, the attorney may take it on a contingent fee basis, meaning the lawyer takes his fee as a percentage of whatever you win. That would mean you'd not need to put up much, if anything, up front for it.

  • 12-14-2012 7:25 PM In reply to

    • Cica
      Consumer
    • Top 25 Contributor
    • Joined on 09-23-2003
    • Posts 6,519

    Re: Do I have a case and how would I find the best lawyer for it

    crystald08:
    upped my meds that I was already on.

    Upped meds that you were currently on for what and for how long?  And was your employer aware of your treatment for a psychological disorder -- if this is what these meds involved?

     

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