Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fired for Health Issue

Today I was fired without any knowledge or even inkling that something was wrong. There were never any warnings (verbal or written) and in fact, I had a conversation with my Supervisor just a week ago, telling me I was doing a great job. There was only one comment made that I had been tardy on a few occasions, which I had called ahead to say I was running late. It's never an excuse, but I didn't have a choice in the matter when they were digging up our roadway and there was no prior notice to any of the residents that this was being done. It was never an issue again.

I was brought into the conference room and was told that there were personality conflicts between me and the "community" (there were only 7 people working in the company) as well as other issues. And then all of these issues that I couldn't believe I was hearing started to come out of left field - I was tardy on a regular basis (which I wasn't), I was rude to others in the workplace (which I wasn't and would never be as I wasn't raised that way), I rifled through people's trash without their consent (I was collecting the bottles and cans for recycling that the employees would throw out because they refused to recycle as it was "too much work"), I was on the Internet looking at social networking or sports sites.

I just sat there, stunned out of my mind because I had never been told that anything was a problem. My work was getting done, I had sales calls coming into me left and right, everything seemed to be going fine. What I found out is the Assistant in the office who befriended me was accessing my social website pages and using this information against me (such as uploading photos, surveys, etc) that were done at night and on weekends. What most upset me is that besides myself, another woman was hired who was a friend of the Assistant already working there. She comes in late, leaves early, takes extended lunches, watches DVDs and accesses full-length television shows on her PC and nothing was ever said or done to her, yet I am the one being forced out.

Something that did come up when I first started was that a routine medical test came back saying I might have cancer. I was upset and consulted my boss to see if I could get on the health plan earlier than the 3-month time frame with my paying 100% up to that 3-month window. This request was denied and my boss said to go ahead with the testing, and that "the cost was not her concern, but that we would work it out when it came to that point." It seems very coincidental that they've created all these reasons for my departure when my results are due back this week and the bill arrived for the testing today. So that I don't raise their insurance premiums, cut me off now!

I was only in the position a month. Is this something that I should put on my resume? Is it appropriate to write an exit letter to your former boss as I was not able to present any type of defense or my side of the story? I understand that their minds are made up and I would not want to go back to a company that I do not trust, but I feel that there should be some sort of closer there.

I'm not a lawyer so I can't comment on your legal rights in this situation or whether you should write an exit letter. I'll stick to what I do best: resumes.

Is it possible to speak with the employer and ask to have your employment status listed as a temporary job? If they're agreeable to that, you could list the position like this:
Sept. 2008, Job Title (temporary assignment), Company Name

If they don't want to do that, then I suggest leaving the job off your resume all together. Hopefully you had another job in 2008 that you can list in your work history, and by using years (no months), it will not be noticeable that this one-month disaster happened.

When you fill out your job application, you must list the one-month job, so practise how you'll talk about that in the job interview.


Mira said...

I was fired without any cause from my job more than 6 months ago from the company where I worked for 14 months as a full time employee. In this company I started work and within three months I was getting trouble from my direct boss. He was racist, threatening me to leave the job, making very bad comments and trying to find fault in my work which he could not. He was in the company from last 12 years and the lady working before me had also faced the same situation with him and she changed her job in the same company. He was directly mentioning very weird things and using abusive language with me even in our team meetings. I booked an appointment with him and have clearly mentioned him that I do not appreciate his behavior and he said I must leave. I decided to leave and other team member asked me to go to Human resources before making my decision. I went to HR, briefed everything and they asked me to continue my work. They took interview of other team members and also the lady who was working before me with my boss in the same job. I also heard from other female staff who have already mentioned in HR for his abusive remarks. HR conducted a meeting with me and him together in front of HR, he did the same. Company decided to give my boss psychologist session but his behavior was going beyond limit and my life was becoming like a hell at work. After two more months, I wrote my resignation but HR suggested me to continue as they have concluded him to let go but as a process they were giving him some written noticed and everything took more than 3 months. He was let go and new boss came internally who was a best friend of my boss. Initially she promoted me and then this old boss was keep coming back as new boss does not know technical work and old boss was now working as a consultant with the company. His abusive comment continued and I informed my new boss about the same because I thought that if I go to HR without informing her then would make bad impact and she said that she will get some resolution but now she needs his help. This new boss was also very well connected with the HR lady with whom I had worked in past because of this issue. Nothing was changed and within 2 weeks she took me in HR and fired without any cause. I talked with higher authority, explained every thing and as a result, company asked me to resign instead of fire. I resigned, and company also paid me severance pay.

I decided not to put energy in negative outcomes and start again. Meanwhile, Mu Mom was going through a severe sickness and I stayed with her and time passed. After her recovery, I started job search. Recently, I had a interview, I informed them I was in full time job but resigned because of personal reasons. After 4 interview for the same job they checked references and I was not selected.

My old boss has also started new job in the educational institute which is an alliance with other educational institute where I was working before this job. When I see vacancy in my old place, I applied but didn't get any response. I think that my old boss has passed some story and this is all impacting me.

I do not understand how to handle this situation? Looking at my boss, who was a real problem, is working in the educational institute and has no problem in reference. I, who suffered, getting a problem. even at resignation, I mentioned that this new boss is a friend of old boss and firing me in retaliation. Can you please help me?

Susan Ireland said...

Dear Mira,
Is it possible for you to go through a job agency for your next job? In that way, the agency can represent you to a potential employer.

If the agency is a good one, they'll be able to hear your story, and get to the bottom of your job reference issue without too much trouble. In fact, a quick phone call to your former company will tell them exactly what sort of reference they're giving. Then you and the agency can take it from there.

Mira said...

hanks Susan for the guidance. As you suggested to get the job through employment agency, I have a dilema that if this agency is working for big organization where initially person is hired for temp job and after certain working hours, there is an opportunity to hire in full time job. For an example in university or in government job through an agency I can work on contract but then it might get in full time position. So, my dilemma is that in this situation if I tell agency about reference it will not become a problem in future? Please guide and many thanks for all your help.

Susan Ireland said...

Hi Mira,
Not all employment agencies work the same way. Try to learn how the agency you have in mind works before signing up with them. Perhaps ask to speak to someone who's found work through them, or do an online search to see if anyone has posted comments about the agency.

Another idea is to go through one of the state-run agencies. They may help you through the application process including how to handle the job reference part. Most state agencies have workshops where you can ask questions, and counselors with whom you can work individually.

Check your Yellow Pages or go online to find one near you.

Good luck with it!