Do I have an argument for any kind of retribution?

I was hired as a senior manager for a consulting firm of 50 people. The company consists of 47 woman and 3 men. I was subordinate to only the CEO. Everyone in the company has a signed employment at will contract and a non-compete that will not allow them to work in this vertical again. I have no such contract. At some point, the CEO turned on me with no explanation. She has a history of building up a black list on people and then exercising her will all at once rather than dealing with small issues as they come up. You can be fired over the smallest of issues 6 months after it happens without ever knowing what you did. I was privy to 4 such firings. Prior to my "turn", I was called into a managers meeting with 4 other woman managers. I was then aggressively confronted about leaving the toilet seat up in the common bathroom. First of all, I didn't do it, but was still quite humiliated by the event. I need the job too much to make a scene about that. Two weeks later, sensing I had lost the confidence of the CEO, I offered to cancel a vacation and go to a trade show instead. The CEO told me I was "being silly" and should go on vacation and enjoy myself. I was fired 2 hours upon my return from vacation and told in that same meeting that I would still have a job if I didn't go on vacation. Do I have a legal position on anything here? I was let go and paid for only time worked.

1 answer  |  asked May 27, 2011 11:40 PM [EST]  |  applies to Massachusetts

Answers (1)

Kevin McGann
"I was called into a managers meeting with 4 other woman managers. I was then aggressively confronted about leaving the toilet seat up in the common bathroom." Just wondering, are you male or female? A male in this situation may have some chance of a sex-discrimination lawsuit.....but not much.

Otherwise, there isn't a single fact in your situation that violates the law and could be the subject of legal action. You are an employee-at-will, your boss doesn't like you (anymore), so she fired you. The fact that she encouraged you to go on vacation and then used that as an excuse to fire you is a symptom of her underlying character, but doesn't give you any specific legal rights related to "retribution". There is a concept of "retaliation" in some legal matters -- protecting those who file discrimination claims, for instance, from losing their job because of it -- but that does not apply to you.

The fact that she implied that you could have kept your job by not taking vacation, when she approved it a week before, will be an important point to make when/if you file for unemployment. I can see an argument coming about whether you were fired by her or it was your own fault for not following some company rule.

posted by Kevin McGann  |  May 28, 2011 05:34 AM [EST]

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