Got fired, consulted an attorney. I have 3 options. Help me decide.
August 27, 2013 7:00 PM Subscribe
I don't want to sue. I don't want money. I just want to be able to apply for jobs without holding my breath. Consulted with two attorneys. Should I hire one of them, try to do this on my own, or just walk away?
posted by anonymous to law & government (23 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
2 months ago I got fired. It was political, ugly and quite devastating. The day I was fired my employer gave me a termination notice that listed 7 dates of "performance discussions" and a performance improvement plan + performance improvement meeting with the supervisor dated a month before I was fired.
This plan does not exist, not in the slightest. My supervisor and I never had such a meeting and I never saw or signed any such plan. Most "discussion" dates listed are completely made up. I was never written up, my supervisor did not give me any documentation about performance issues, and I was not told that "discussions" constituted verbal warnings.
Basically my supervisor decided to fire me and made up a bunch of bullshit to make it look like they had followed internal company procedures for terminating an employee.
But. This is not illegal. I work in an at will state. It was basically a sloppy, dumb, cover-your-ass move when there was no reason to cover their ass.
I consulted with 2 attorneys and both stated that they would be happy to represent me in asking my former employer to reclassify my separation as a resignation and agree that they will not make negative/derogatory statements about my employment to prospective employers. I'm hoping I might be able to clean up my employment record enough so that I don't have to worry about what my employer might say about me or do the kabuki dance of explaining why I left my last job. Conventional wisdom has it that most employers won't disclose anything but the bare minimum about former employees....but, this is certainly not always the case and I think it would be foolish to bank on this. Besides, my state also grants employers protection from liability if the negative information they report is in a good faith response to an employment inquiry/reference.
Both attorneys were clear that my former employer very well could agree to these things, but might not. Since no laws were broken, my employer does not have a compelling reason to do anything. Both also said I could try and do this on my own.
So. Lawyer up? Try to do this on my own? Walk away?
On the Walk Away side: I have two good references from co-workers at this organization and good references from several past employers as well as the supervisor of the very work/field related organization I currently volunteer with. After 2 months I'm starting to feel better and am starting to regain some professional confidence. I'm not sure I want to mess with that. It's been a hard rebound and I'm still not back to my pre-fire normal.
I could hire an attorney to do try to do this for me. I have enough put aside to pony up for a retainer, but it would hurt financially - a lot. It would be worth it for a relatively cleaned up employment history and some emotional satisfaction that I didn't slink away quietly. Still, I could easily be throwing away $1500-$2000.
I might try to do this myself, if for no other reason than to be able to say that I did my best to look out for my best interests. If I decide to try and do this on my own, how should I go about it? I'm looking here for ways to frame a letter and word the request.