Ohio Employment Law Lawyers Answer: What do I do if I think I might be fired? Can I quit my job if I’m being harassed? My employer said I quit but I think I was terminated?
If you are even searching the internet to learn about employment discrimination, harassment or a possible wrongful termination, the answer to the question about when to contact an employment attorney is now. It is so hard to hear about people being treated poorly at work, discriminated against, or harassed by on the job, only to find out that the employee is not able to pursue their claim against their former employer because of the way the employee was discharged.
Take, for instance, the case of Ruth Andrews. Andrews was employed as a server at the Cracker Barrel restaurant in Caseyville, Illinois where she claims she was regularly harassed based on her race and age and in retaliation for filing a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) earlier in her employment.
At the time when Andrews filed her EEOC claim, her associate manager threatened her by saying she better “hope to God I never become GM because if I do, one of the first things I’m going to do is fire you.” Fast forward several years to the time when her former associate manager actually does become her GM or general manager.
Andrews claimed her new GM stated he was going to make the Caseyville Cracker Barrel the first all-black restaurant for the chain and began to hire a disproportionate number of black people based on the demographics of the local area. Andrews also claims the GM called her, “old woman,” “old lady,” “grandma.” The GM would use a cane in an exaggerated manner in order to impersonate the way an elderly or infirm person might walk in front of Andrews.
Andrews complained about the GM’s behavior on numerous occasions, but Cracker Barrel failed to take any action to address the claims made by Andrews.
The GM would also try to get Andrews to quit by encouraging her to spend time with her grandchildren, or offered to take her to work every day at a different Cracker Barrel location 70 miles away if Andrews would agree to transfer. Eventually, the GM’s attempts to get Andrews to transfer were successful. Andrews told the GM she wanted to work at a different location and asked him to take care of the paperwork. Andrews also requested that she be allowed to use three weeks of paid vacation to make the transfer to the new location. While Andrews was on vacation she contacted her GM to ask about her new schedule, and informed him that she was unable to work nights. Andrews indicated that if she was required to work nights she would have to remain at the Caseyville Cracker Barrel. The GM told Andrews he would let her know the outcome, but Andrews never heard back before her vacation days expired.
Instead, Andrews was terminated automatically by Cracker Barrel’s computer programs used to track personnel matters. The program automatically changes an employee’s status to terminated if the employee fails to work for three consecutive weeks. Andrews received a check for her outstanding vacation time and assumed that she had been terminated. She never reported to work at either Cracker Barrel location or followed up to find out if she was still employed.
Andrews eventually filed a suit against Cracker Barrel. However, the court did not allow Andrews to proceed to trial in front of a jury. The court found that Andrews voluntarily resigned based on testimony given by Andrews that supported the fact that she never formally applied for a transfer, she rejected a tentative offer of working night shifts, she never received a shift or start date at the new location, she gave notice of her last day at her former location, and failed to contact anyone at either Cracker Barrel location for more definite information prior to the end of her vacation.
We’ve said it before and we will say it again, the best thing you can do if you think you are being discriminated against or harassed by your employer, is contact an attorney. If you think you are being set up to be terminated, call an attorney. With the proper advice and guidance, Andrews could have preserved her discrimination claims against her former employer instead of winding up having them dismissed.
If you feel that you are being discriminated based on your race, whatever race that may be, then call the right attorney. Race discrimination includes being harassed, fired, wrongfully terminated, discriminated against, demoted, wrongfully disciplined, and denied wages. When you call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation at 866-797-6040, you will meet with an attorney from The Spitz Law Firm who will help you determine the best way to pursue your legal claims.
If you are an employee over the age of 40 and believe that you are being discriminated because you are older than other employees; or have be wrongfully terminated and replaced with some younger than you, you may have an age discrimination claim under Ohio law or the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Even if you are not sure about your age discrimination claim, you should call the right attorney as quickly as possible to schedule a free and confidential consultation at 866-797-6040. Age discrimination claims have very short statute of limitations, which means that you only have a very short amount of time to figure out if you have an age discrimination claim and take action. It is unlawful for employers to treat older employees differently.
The materials available at the top of this race and age discrimination page and on this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking: “What should I do …”, “I’m being discriminated against …”, “my boss is calling me granny or grandpa,” or “How do I …”, your best option is to contact an Ohio attorney to obtain advice with respect to race discrimination questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of The Spitz Law Firm, attorney Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.