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Terminated for utilizing open door policy

Latest post Sat, May 5 2012 6:10 PM by Cica. 33 replies.
  • Fri, Jan 23 2009 9:57 PM

    Question [=?] Terminated for utilizing open door policy

    Here is the short version:

    I worked for a company for 11years and 3 months. In the past year a new Department Manager was placed but that manager did many things against company policy. I reported these items based on the idea that i would not be discriminated against for reporting the actions that were against policy. This was felt because the company has an open door policy for reporting such items. This policy was installed so that employees can report problems without fear of retaliation.

    Then less than one month after reporting directly to my District Manager about a critical issue, i was held back from promotion into management training programs, Although the reported problem was resolved the within 24 hours. I was later terminated by my District Manager One day after reporting to him about another critical policy discrepancy by my Department Manager. I really feel that i did nothing wrong by utilizing the open door policy to report problems to my District Manager but even more so i feel as though there was a breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing by following the Employee Handbook. My District manager states that i was insubordinate as the reason for termination. But California EDD Appeals Court ruled in favor of my case in saying that i was terminated for following policy. I have a digital copy of the court hearing to assist in filing suit.

    I need a lawyer to take this case with consideration. but the question is Do i have a case? And under which protections...breach of contract in reference of the open door policy, discrimination,or what?

  • Fri, Jan 23 2009 10:20 PM In reply to

    Feedback [*=*] re: Terminated for utilizing open door policy

    Did you have an actual employment contract or are you relying on the statements in the Employee Handbook? If it's the handbook then if you look carefully there most likely is a statement in there that says it does not constitute an employment contract and they can change the policies at any time without notice.

    I don't see anything in your post that indicates ILLEGAL discrimination. Most discrimination is legal. Only reasons protected by law are illegal: age, race, gender etc. Nothing in your post implies you were terminated for a protected reason.

    Sadly you are discovering the hard way that despite saying they have an open door policy most employers don't and move very quickly to get rid of employees that they see as trouble or chronic complainers. You can consult local counsel but I doubt there is a case here.

    "That's just my opinion, then again I might be wrong."  Dennis Miller


  • Sat, Jan 24 2009 9:18 AM In reply to

    • ERIEatty
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Sat, Jan 24 2009
    • Posts 2

    Question [=?] re: Terminated for utilizing open door policy

    You may be on to something with the breach of contract theory, but those cases are tough. The basic theory is that the terms of the handbook constitute a contract. Many handbooks have some type of disclaimer, but those are pretty much meaningless (at least in my commonwealth).

    As far as impermissible discrimination, it doesn't seem like you've been discriminated against or retaliated against for a protected reason.

    What is the California EDD Appellate Court, and what was your proceeding there about?
  • Sun, Jan 25 2009 11:32 AM In reply to

    re: Terminated for utilizing open door policy

    Sorry, but there's no case here.

    The ruling of the EDD appeals court simply means that you are entitled to unemployment compensation, nothing else.

    You've learned important lessons about the corporate world.

    1 - Open door policy is a crock.

    2 - Management protects management.

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • Mon, Jan 26 2009 3:55 PM In reply to

    re: Terminated for utilizing open door policy

    True that is the hard part that it is not illegal discrimination. But in the EDD appeals court case they use the Associate Handbook policy as a way to give reason for termination. In that same case, can't i also use the Associate Handbook policy against them because it says that the open door policy is a means to give report to problems without fear of reprisal? In my case i feel that i have surely been terminated for doing my job. I just have to try to find out as much possible information because it is truly wrong what they did.
  • Mon, Jan 26 2009 4:04 PM In reply to

    re: Terminated for utilizing open door policy

    According to California EDD my reason for termination was not valid to pay my unemployment from my account. EDD decided to charge the company i worked for and was terminated from. The company appealed that decision and that is why the court case was presented. The Judge recorded the proceedings and determined after listening to the District Manager (the one who i reported to and who terminated me) and my testimony. He came to the conclusion that i was not being insubordinate but instead just doing my job and also informing him of the critical situations that appeared by the Store Manager. The Judge concluded that the company's reason for termination was not valid for their account to not be charged.

    I requested a digital copy of the court proceeding and i have that now on CD. I plan to use this as evidence so that they don't change their story in court...if i can get an attorney to take my case.

    I'm thinking that breach of contract is the way to go because they use that Associate Handbook as a way to determine someones discipline and therefore should also be used to uphold their part when the Handbook is followed.
  • Mon, Jan 26 2009 4:09 PM In reply to

    re: Terminated for utilizing open door policy

    This is pretty much what another attorney said to me during a consult. I do accept that as truth in the corporate world.

    At the same time...since i have no job now... i have time to view the issue at many different angles to find one that can stick in order to right this wrong. One consultant said i should use that fact that i have a mental disability (depression related with daily medications required, two doctors diagnosis as Major Depression, and one saying Anxiety Disorder) I have read that it is a protected discrimination group.

    But do i truly have to go that way just to get a valid day in court?
  • Mon, Jan 26 2009 4:38 PM In reply to

    • LynnM
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Mon, Apr 3 2000
    • CA
    • Posts 28,248

    Disagree [)*(] HIGHLY unlikely

    Those handbooks are almost never determined to be contracts.
  • Mon, Jan 26 2009 4:39 PM In reply to

    • LynnM
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Mon, Apr 3 2000
    • CA
    • Posts 28,248

    re: Terminated for utilizing open door policy

    I think that consultant is dead wrong.
  • Mon, Jan 26 2009 4:48 PM In reply to

    • cbg
    • Top 25 Contributor
    • Joined on Thu, Dec 21 2000
    • MA
    • Posts 7,062

    re: Terminated for utilizing open door policy

    You would have to show that you were terminated BECAUSE you have been diagnosed with depression or anxiety disorder. Just having the condition or conditions does not make it illegal to terminate you at all. It only makes it illegal to terminate you BECAUSE of the conditions.
  • Wed, Jan 28 2009 3:46 PM In reply to

    Sad [:(] re: Terminated for utilizing open door policy

    I completely understand that point made
  • Wed, Jan 28 2009 3:59 PM In reply to

    Angry [:@] re: HIGHLY unlikely

    Then basically what it comes down to is...

    Most things are one way only direction. not two way.

    just because a company can use an Associate or Employee Handbook to govern it's employees and that book would be used as the Number 1 guide/rule that an employee is expected to follow or suffer actions up to and/or including termination.

    The employee can not use that same employee handbook to uphold when that said employee is corrected for following that handbook's implied and expressed written regulations to the employee advantage.

    It simply comes down to do as i say not as i do.

    Then someone needs to make a change in such a gross acceptance of this.

    I need it to be made that if a company says in writing that you can come to them with concerns, corrections, complaints without fear of retaliation...and if they retaliate for that report, they need to be held liable for that breach of trust, contract.

    I don't wish to live in a world where you report to the police a crime and the police arrest you because the person you reported on was their brother.

  • Fri, May 4 2012 2:06 AM In reply to

    Re: Terminated for utilizing open door policy

    The exact same thing has just happened to me. I utilized the company's "open-door policy". My manager was commiting time fraud. I reported it. I was terminated. I was an at-will employee, but I am determined to fight any way that I can.

    Did you find any recourse for your termination? It's been 3 years since you last posted. Please let me know.

  • Fri, May 4 2012 2:57 AM In reply to

    Re: Terminated for utilizing open door policy

    For anyone who would like information on At-Will employment and join the cause in abolishing this law, please visit my website at  Together....we CAN make a difference!!!

  • Fri, May 4 2012 3:05 AM In reply to

    • DOCAR
    • Top 25 Contributor
    • Joined on Sat, Dec 9 2000
    • NV
    • Posts 5,478

    Re: Terminated for utilizing open door policy

    You realize that if they were to abolish at will in the 49 states that have it, it would run both ways.  You would need a reason spelled out in law to quit, not just because you didn't like the job.  I don't think you really want to go that way.

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