Position elimination and lay offs
July 18, 2014 2:58 PM   Subscribe

Can employers lie about a lay off due to funds?

As some of you know I've been having some issues with a lady in management that seemed to hate my guts. She isn't my boss but is a valuable employee and is a senior staff member. Anyways, I've been at my job 6 months and as of today I was laid off and left the building immediately. I was told it was due to funds and them being non profit so my position was eliminated.

My now ex boss said I could out him down as a reference.

It's funny, they had serious staffing issues due to no one wanting the job because of low pay. I managed to go from 30 openings to only 8 in less than 3 months! Staffing crisis resolved, and they just recently passed the policy to give the workers I fill an increase of $2 increase. So I'm thinking maybe because the increase in pay they can't afford me too.

But I can't help but wonder if maybe it's a lie and due to another reason like my performance or coworker relationships since that lady hated my guts. I didn't see anyone else packing up their stuff.
posted by Asian_Hunnie to Work & Money (11 answers total)
It doesn't matter. They don't have to give a reason to anyone, so whatever they tell you is whatever they feel like telling you. They could say it's because aliens came down from Mars and said they had to. Or they could secretly believe that aliens want you fired but tell you it's because of money.

It only matters that they did not fire you for cause. This means you will get unemployment. If it was your performance and they felt like fighting you for unemployment, you would have been fired for cause.

So, in all likelihood money got a little tight and someone had to go. It was going to be the squeakiest wheel they could get rid of, and it sounded like they couldn't get rid of the other person for some reason. So that leaves you.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:06 PM on July 18, 2014 [7 favorites]

I can't answer this legally but my boss "laid off" a coworker a while back "because of funds", but he immediately turned around a hired someone else at a higher rate of pay, and the truth was that my boss didn't like the laid off guy because his work was poor, he pissed off a lot of customers, and he used to watch porn at his desk. I am in an at-will employment state, so I'm not sure of legal parameters, but in my experience (and I fully acknowledge that my workplace is dysfunctional), an employer can say whatever they want. Others may refute this.
posted by lakersfan1222 at 3:07 PM on July 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

And, I'm sorry that you were laid off and I hope that you find a much better workplace as soon as possible!
posted by lakersfan1222 at 3:07 PM on July 18, 2014

We are at-will. Why not just fire someone if it's justifiable?
posted by Asian_Hunnie at 3:09 PM on July 18, 2014

It depends on the state but I think in general they can't lie and say they fired you for cause when it was actually a lay-off, because this affects whether or not you get unemployment. If you were laid off, you can get unemployment and it makes interviewing easier, so if it was a lie, it's a lie in your favor.
posted by bleep at 3:12 PM on July 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

Why not just fire someone if it's justifiable?
You may not be eligible for unemployment benefits if you are fired for cause. So if they say that they are laying you off, it may be a favor to you. (Obviously not a favor compared to keeping your job, though)
posted by b1tr0t at 3:12 PM on July 18, 2014 [8 favorites]

Sorry this happened, and hope you find something better soon.

We are at-will. Why not just fire someone if it's justifiable?

I think the terminology is getting a little confused here. "Laid off" and "fired" both mean the same basic thing- the person doesn't work there anymore. It's just semantics.

As mentioned above, "Fired for cause" is a different animal when it comes to unemployment claims. The thing about cause is it needs to be something *SERIOUS.* Like someone was chronically absent without notice, or stole, or hit their boss. "Their performance was poor" is a canonical example of something that IS NOT cause- otherwise no one would ever get unemployment because every employer would just claim "their performance was poor," which is completely subjective and mostly impossible to prove or disprove.

So, this just comes down to the wording of the reason. People will often say "money" just to avoid an argument or bad feelings.
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:15 PM on July 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Why ask why? I just got the heave-ho. They hired an embryo to take my place, probably got him for about $20k less than they pay for me.

If this lady doesn't like you, and she wanted you out, that's that. No sense in poking a hornet's nest. Just file for unemployment and get another job.

Get this, they made me STAY for two weeks, in exchange for a severance package, so that I could TRAIN the kid who got my job. Classy, right?

You know what, money is green and in that two weeks I applied for a shit-ton of jobs, and I'm already interviewing.

So, start applying for better jobs, go out with your friends for a night of commiseration, make plans to egg that lady's house and to have pizzas sent to her. You'll feel better.

I KNOW how much it sucks and how much you want to understand it all, but in a few days, you'll be fine and be ready to move on.

Take care of yourself!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 3:16 PM on July 18, 2014 [7 favorites]

If they fire you for cause, they have to prove it. That means they'd have to write you up a couple of times for your "performance" problem, put you on an improvement plan, you'd have to sign off on all the paperwork, and they'd have to produce all that documentation if you contested for unemployment.

It's easier just to do a no-cause termination and let you collect unemployment.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:26 PM on July 18, 2014 [4 favorites]

Also - file for unemployment ASAP, if you haven't already. Some states have a 'grace period' where you file your claim, but you don't get your check, until it's over - usually a week or two.

Good luck!
posted by spinifex23 at 3:27 PM on July 18, 2014

Your boss may have chosen to lay you off, making you eligible for unemployment Compensation, plus giving you a reference, because of the conflict. IANAL, but I'll bet it's perfectly legal. Make the most of the time on Unemployment, and when you're a boss, learn from your boss' low-conflict resolution. It sucks, but not like being fired for cause.
posted by theora55 at 5:23 PM on July 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

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