I have had a few jobs in my life. I have been at the bottom of the totem pole, and I have been a supervisor. One of the things that was always taught to me is that you berate in private, and praise in public. Another thing I learned is to treat my employees with respect.
My wife was fired from her job this week. I don’t begrudge them the act of firing her, as that is their right. What upsets me is how it was done. Two years ago, she was promoted into her current department. Shortly after, one of her coworkers quit, and when the employer couldn’t find a qualified applicant to fill the position, my wife offered to do both jobs in exchange for a raise from $12 an hour to $18 an hour. Her employer agreed, but said that the raise would be to $14 an hour, and if things worked out, they would raise her to $16 an hour after six months. Well, you guessed it, six months came, but the raise didn’t. The reason? The economy had tanked, and the boss said, “You aren’t getting the raise we promised you because we know that unemployment is so high that you can’t leave.”
There were 4 other people in her department, plus a supervisor. This department is part of a surgical practice, with half of the employees dealing with insurance companies and their rules so the Doctors would get paid, and the other half of the people dealing with all of the legal and medical requirements for the surgery to be able to happen. Other than the supervisor, my wife was the only one in the department with the experience, education, and knowledge required to do both jobs. When the supervisor was out on FMLA, my wife assumed the supervisor’s responsibilities. Other than her scheduled vacation, she did not miss a day of work in four years. She was also making the most money of anyone in the department.
After two years in the position, and four years as an employee, they decided that the money my wife was making was too much, and wanted to be rid of her. Instead of simply doing the proper thing and just firing her, they began making her life more and more difficult. They would berate her for making a decision one week, and then berate her for asking questions about what she should do the next. They made the job horrible. They even told her that they wanted her to quit, so they would not have to pay unemployment. My wife refused to quit her job, saying they would have to fire her.
That was when they started trying to find a reason. They kept adding to her responsibilities, and micromanaging her. They installed spyware on her computer in an attempt to catch her doing things she shouldn’t have.
The piled more and more work on her, but would not authorize overtime. So my wife came in early and left late off the clock to keep up. They got the IT department to shut down her computer when working hours were over, so she couldn’t do that. Then, this week, they fired her because she was not getting all of her work done, even though she had more responsibilities that anyone else in her department.
They did it at quitting time on Friday, and her supervisor laughed at her when they fired her and said, “Good luck getting unemployment or a job, I hope you starve,” Then they watched her while she packed up her things and walked her out.
A real class act. If they deny her unemployment, we are going to hire an attorney. I am also going to hire this company to see if they can get the former employer to lie about her work performance. If they do, we will sue for defamation and slander.
Theresa Jones · June 15, 2010 at 5:55 am
Do you guys have Perkins Coie down there? They are really good and rarely ever lose. Up here, they practice Estate Law, but they have helped me find other really good attny's when I needed them. Good luck and I sincerely hope that you win you case and then some :-))!!
Anonymous · June 16, 2010 at 10:39 pm
you probably should notify department of labor as well.
TOTWTYTR · June 17, 2010 at 8:43 pm
I hope your wife kept a journal of the obvious harassment that was occurring.
I'd talk to a lawyer even before filing for unemployment.
TOTWTYTR · June 18, 2010 at 4:00 am
One other thought. An acquaintance of mine was fired under similar circumstances. A few days later, her former employer called her and asked her several questions about how she did her job. She answered a few and then realized that they had no one qualified to replace her! She ended the conversation by wishing her former employer good luck and telling him not to call her again.
Just in case your wife gets a call or two from former co workers asking her a few friendly questions about how she did things.
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