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Wrongfull Dismisal Advice Please.

Wrongfull Dismisal Advice Please.

Old Aug 26th 2010, 1:26 am
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Default Wrongfull Dismisal Advice Please.

I'm now 66. I was 'let go' over a year ago from a position I had held for over 12 years in sales in Phoenix AZ. I applied for unemployment benefit, but this was appealed by my former employer, who claimed I had been let go because of a company violation.

A telephone appeal date was set, and the arbitrating judge reviewed the information I had faxed to her, and the (apparently) scant information put forward by my former branch manager regarding my dismisal. She concluded that my former employer offered very little to suggest that I had commited a wilful violation, and she determined that my unemloyment benefits should stand. The company had the right to appeal this decision at two more levels, but they never did.

My questions therefore are: Do you think I could bring a wrongfull dismissal lawsuit against my former employer, over 12 months after I was dismissed?

Is the judges viewpoint that I had done little or nothing wrong, a tool that could be used against my former company in respect of a wrongfull dismissal ?

Is a year down the road too late to consider any action anyway?

Pete
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Old Aug 26th 2010, 1:30 am
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Default Re: Wrongfull Dismisal Advice Please.

Is Arizona a 'work at will' state? If so, an employer can let you go for pretty much any reason they want.

Yours is a fairly specific question involving employment laws, so you may be best to find a different forum that could provide some better info..and know what kind of questions to ask.

My father was let go from his job several years back, after he had to take some extended time off after having a stroke. At first his employer fought the unemployment claim, but the arbitrator decided to give it to him anyways (his boss only wanted to save some $). In KY, I don't think he had the right to go after the employer at all for the dismissal, but I guess AZ could be different.

Last edited by Bluegrass Lass; Aug 26th 2010 at 2:53 am.
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Old Aug 26th 2010, 2:44 am
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Default Re: Wrongfull Dismisal Advice Please.

In Colorado no, AZ may be different but probably not.
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Old Aug 26th 2010, 2:55 am
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Default Re: Wrongfull Dismisal Advice Please.

Originally Posted by sunflwrgrl13 View Post
Is Arizona a 'work at will' state? If so, an employer can let you go for pretty much any reason they want.
It is.

http://research.lawyers.com/Arizona/...n-Arizona.html

Companies often claim appeal these unemployment claims because their contribution rates go up the more ex-employees who claim benefit. So although they couldn't prove a "willful violation" t avoid unemployment being paid, I doubt this translates into much of a claim for wrongful dismissal. Unless you can prove discrimination etc.
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Old Aug 26th 2010, 3:08 am
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Default Re: Wrongfull Dismisal Advice Please.

The first problem is that lawyers usually won't take on a case of wrongful termination on a contingency for an individual unless it is flagrant and the employer is a large corporation. However, if it is class action against a large corporation, they love those types of cases.

Because of the different laws in different states, just because the employer stated something to the employment department that may not be true does not mean that the company was not within its rights to let you go. Therefore cases like that can be expensive to win. Unfortunately that is just the way it is in the US.

I feel for you and anyone that gets laid off over the age of 50 especially with unemployment rates so high since it is difficult to gains employment after a certain age but lawyers generally look for class action suits against large corporations based on federal laws such as age or sex discrimination. If they can prove a pattern, that is the best way to win and they usually win big.
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Old Aug 26th 2010, 3:38 am
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Default Re: Wrongfull Dismisal Advice Please.

Like most states, Arizona is an at will state, meaning either you or your employer can terminate your employment 'at will' unless you have a contract with them. There are exceptions, for example they cannot terminate you because you are black, or a Catholic, or because of your age, but other than those things on the list they can pretty much do what they want.

So if you argue "I was terminated for violating the company policy and I didn't" it could be a bit of a moot point, unless you can show they terminated you because of your age or something like that

http://research.lawyers.com/Arizona/...n-Arizona.html

The other issue is statute of limitations, which I think is 12 months. You really should check with a professional to see what they think on these matters, and check quickly.

Look in the phone book for an employment lawyer. Many will offer a free consultation meeting where they will talk over what's possible, what's not.

If you have a copy of the employee handbook that might also be helpful as it might give you some more protections.

p.s. the term of art is "wrongful termination" when using google and whatnot.
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Old Aug 27th 2010, 8:56 am
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Default Re: Wrongfull Dismisal Advice Please.

Thank you all so very much for your useful advice. All the answers you've given me are very much as I'd expected, but I thought there's no harm in asking, as they say.

There is definitely a question of my age playing a part in the company's decision, but quite frankly, I cant stand any more stress trying to get a lawyer to take on an expensive case that is so complex, that I cant be sure I'd win.

Thanks again though

Best Wishes

Pete
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Old Aug 27th 2010, 9:17 am
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Default Re: Wrongfull Dismisal Advice Please.

Sorry to hear this is causing you some stress and can understand not wanting to go through the chaos of bringing in a lawyer and whatnot...but...there is something to be said for hearing it from a professional--do you have a case (or do you not have a case). There is a bit of finality that might come with a free consultation with an employment law attorney. Just an hour or two out of your day, and you'll hear from someone who does this sort of thing for a living about your chances or lack thereof. There's something about hearing it from a professional in this field that helps bring a bit of closure. A couple of hours and you won't be asking 'what if' in a couple of months.

Just a thought.

Good luck with your decision.
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Old Aug 29th 2010, 4:13 am
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Default Re: Wrongfull Dismisal Advice Please.

If you are interested in speaking to someone informed about it (even if it possibly ends up being a conversation that ends in a "no"), one of these organisations might be a low-cost/free alternative to paying a lawyer: http://www.azlawhelp.org/legalaidlisting.cfm?in=

Good luck and sorry to hear your employer lied to try and dodge their obligations. At least justice was done in that respect.
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