1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

why i got fired

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by warwickben, Apr 16, 2005.

  1. so last friday not the 15 i got fired. i was working at the brazing shop. i got the job thru a temp or head hunter. i was sposed to work temp to driect. i got fired be cause iam on prozack.. i suffer from major depression. the way the found out is i forgot to take my meds and called my mom to drop them off they feel out of my pocket and the guy i worked with picked them up and gave me them. 3 weeks later the guy walks up to me and says this iam letting u go because ur meds, i feel ur a saftey harzard(sp?). i was like u cant do that for one its against the law and two my meds arent liek a downer were it could make me a harzard. then he says well allso ur not doing certin things they way we want. i asked them wat things i werent doing the right way.the way i was doing those things is the way i was told to do in school and osha classes. if i did them the way they wanted i would of gotten hurt. i was the only person in that shop that has a osha card. i had to take a 10 hour course to get it , and there telling me to do thigns that are unsafe and then turn around and say iam un safe because iam protecting my self.

    i called the head hunter right away and he said caus ei was under contract i cant sue under the ada act.and there was no proof to wat he said to me. i was making 15 a hours i just got all my bills payed and now iam going in to debt. iam 19 and i was making more then my 40 year old step dad and all most as much as my mom .

    i live in mass. can i do any thing. or am i screwed.
  2. DanGouge


    May 25, 2000
    The first thing I would do is get some independent advice. The temp-agency head-hunter guy has an obvious interest in keeping good relations with the brazing shop, so of course he's going to discourage from suing. He wants to keep their business. If you know anyone (perhaps family) who has expertise on labour laws in your state and can give you advice for cheap (or free, that's why I say family) they are the ones you want to talk to. I don't know Mass labour law at all, so I don't know what your rights are, but I wouldn't trust the head-hunter guy alone.
  3. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    Call and consult with a lawyer. Sometimes they'll give you a bit of advice over the phone for free or just listen to the situation and let you know whether or not they think you have a case. Be absolutely honest and straightforward about everything that happened so that he can accurately assess.

    brad cook
  4. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I'd call the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) and ask them for advice. They're a legal entity run by the government to protect both employees and employers from certain types of legal issues. You might have a legal issue they'd take interest in and might agree to take on your case. I'm not a lawyer, but it sounds like one should be giving you advice. The best part about the EEOC is that they won't cost you a dime.

    As far as the headhunter goes, it makes perfect sense they'd try to steer clear of suing...by getting involved in employees' legal issues, they run the risk of injuring their own business. IMO, their advice is terrible and should be taken with less than a grain of salt.

    Here is a quote from the EEOC website:
    "If you believe you have been discriminated against by an employer, labor union or employment agency when applying for a job or while on the job because of your race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, or disability, or believe that you have been discriminated against because of opposing a prohibited practice or participating in an equal employment opportunity matter, you may file a charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). All laws enforced by EEOC, (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), except the Equal Pay Act (EPA), require filing a charge with EEOC before a private lawsuit may be filed in court.

    To protect your legal rights, it is always best to contact EEOC promptly when discrimination is suspected. There are strict time limits within which charges must be filed. Please review the information for your state, and the specific charge filing instructions for this office."

    Here's the general website:


    Here's a link on the website to find your local field office:


    By following that link, for MA, it looks like your field office is NY:


    Good luck and keep us posted! :)
  5. Ericman197


    Feb 23, 2004
    You're **** out of luck. It's not fair, but this happens all the time. NEVER tell ANYONE about your medications. I know many people, including myself, who take these medications. You can and will be blacklisted if you make it common knowledge.
  6. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Well...a lot of good that does him *now*, considering the fact that he's on meds is already known...he needs to protect himself, and the EEOC would probably love to get involved.

    No employer can afford to get sued by the EEOC for clear ADA discrimination issues.
  7. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    It's probaly another case of insurance companies creating greater stratification by telling employers (either directly or indirectly) who they can hire. I've known many people who were forced out of their respective trades because of this BS. I generally dislike many of the asinine hiring policies of a lot of the local companies. The expect you to jump through hoops with pyschology profiles, multiple interviews, and physical/stress tests just so you can be priveledged to make $6.50 an hour.

    Man, for being a self-proclaimed libertarian, I sure talk like a Marxist. :D
  8. FenderHotRod


    Sep 1, 2004
    You were working for a temp-agency Right? Well if that's the case then your out of luck. I think the meds were an excuess for him not to hire you. When your a Temp worker you can only work so long before the company must hire you/start to paying you insurence. I think when I work for a temp agency it was 90 days. They basicaly let you go so they don't have to pay insurance. I think temp-agency's are the devil.
  9. i know not to talk about my meds but they fell out of my pocket ,only reason i had them was because i called my mom to drop them off for me . its been 1 week 1 day counting today.
  10. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000

    While your chances of acquiring a job through a temp agency is greater than trying to find a job on your own (where I live, nepotism/politics takes greater precedence over getting hired than education, experience, skills, etc.), the eventual outcome is usually worse. Most companies will try to weasel out of benefits anyway they can.

    As I said in my previous post, I'm pretty much a libertarian, but I would like to see socialized health care. But that's a discussion that's probaly too politically for OT.

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Staff Member Supporting Member

    I am sorry to here you lost your job, go to a lawyer and see if anything can be done.
  12. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Bad news, Ben. Because you came from the temp agency, you were an employee of the agency and, as such, an independent contrator (non-employee) to the company. You never were their employee. So, you weren't fired, you were just asked not to come back. I don't think you have any recourse at all, but check with an attorney if it bugs you a lot.

    In our company, we hire most of our clerical staff through agencies. That way, we get to evaluate them for as long as we want (usually 90 days, but sometimes longer) to assess whether they are going to perform satisfactorily. If they go psycho on us, we just call the agency and tell them to replace that person with someone else.

    Even the people we hire directly are required to sign a document that they acknowledge that we are an "at-will" employer. This means that they are free to quit at any time, for any reason or no reason, and we have the right to terminate them on the same basis. Any time, reason or not. That said, we have probably the best retention and longevity in our industry. People like to work at our company. People who don't like to work there typically are the people who just don't like employment in general.

    Bottom line, I'd say get over it and move on, lesson learned.
  13. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    I feel for you, having been in a simillar situation myself. Unfortuneatly there is not much you can do. The fact is an employer is fully within their rights to fire someone because their medication might present a hazard or impair their ability to do their job. Prozac is known to cause seizures in some patients, having a seizure while working in a brazing shop could be very dangerous.

    The ADA does not protect you under these circumstances.
  14. 'JC'


    Mar 14, 2000

    This is why I hate temp agencies and cheapskate employers.
    We're hired in most cases because we're cheaper labor compared to a real full time employee.

    Which begs the question - why should we care or put in as much effort as someone who works the same as us, yet gets more compensation in benefits or profit sharing as a full time employee? I quit caring a long time ago.

    Warwickben - consult your EEOC chapter. They do have legal advice available for such things and in this case, it would go back to the staffing agency you were with.

    If you were there at least 6 months, you would qualify for unemployment.

    Also check with your state Bar association.
    In my state, certain attornies participate in a legal advice program. Call up the bar, tell them what type of situation you are in, and they would provide you a list of attornies that specialize in the matter and offer 30 minute consults at 20 bucks. Again check with your Bar and see if they do somthing like this.

    BTW - did you take a drug test? Did the agency know you were on medications? If they did, +1 for you.
  15. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Munji - I hope you're not implying that an "at will" employer can terminate someone when it violates the ADA...

    I agree you can terminate someone without cause, or with cause, but not for reasons specifically outlined by the EEOC, such as Americans with Disabilities Act. Warwickben's situation may or may not qualify under the ADA, but it may be worth investigating. If his reputation follows him around or prevents him from getting other jobs, there's real damage being done to his reputation. He should seek to protect himself. That's why I recommended contacting the EEOC.
  16. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    You obviously don't know what you're talking about. We pay about 1.5 times our normal pay for a position to the agency. When we hire someone before 90 days is up, we have to pay a head-hunter fee. If we hire the person, we start them at what the agency was paying them, usually.
  17. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Of course not. However, Ben was never an employee. He was an independent contractor.

    Ben's reputation might be damaged more by his decision not to disclose his condition to the potential employer. We are fair to every employee in our company, ADA or not. At the EEOC hearing, he will lose. As long as I have been at the company, we have prevailed on every EEOC claim. There haven't been that many, but we're not in the business of wantonly screwing people. The only time we end up at a hearing is when we are being screwed.

    Believe it or not, there are swarms of people out there who make their livings on things such as wrongful termination, unemployment, and worker's comp claims. I have a fiduciary duty to the hard-working, honest people in my firm not to tolerate abuse of the system. These programs were put in place to be used by people in real need.

    I want to make it clear that I don't think Ben falls in any of the categories I've outlined above. It is indeed unfortunate that he lost his job, but I really don't think he has much recourse due to the circumstances of his employment. I have several people in my office who are on Prozac or other mood-altering drugs, probably more than I'm aware of. I have never considered firing any of those people, because they have not shown that it's an issue. However, it could be a problem if they were working around heavy equipment, and I'd have to see a doctor's verification that the individual could meet the job's requirements.
  18. Dr. PhunkyPants

    Dr. PhunkyPants Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    We don't have enough information at this point to make any determination regarding what legal remedies, if any, are open to him. Cases like this depends on who knew what when and what the paperwork said. And without a record or witnesses to attest to the comments of the supervisor--specifically that the medications were a part of the reason for dismissal--it's a very tough sell.

    I'm sorry you experienced that. Consult a lawyer with the specifics of your case and see what he/she thinks your options are. No one here will give you better advice than that.

    And one other thing. If you really want to play hardball but don't want to pay legal fees, indicate that you expect the temp firm to bring you back on board or you will publish an account of your experience in the local newspaper, write to the local TV network, and inform relevant industry magazines and journals. Make sure they understand you will mention them by name. Sometimes (rarely) that works.
  19. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    What you're saying definitely makes sense to me, but I'm not sold on him falling into the category of trying to screw an employer. I asked my wife, an attorney, and she's flat-out unsure what the courts would say, given the facts Warwickben provided.

    Nonetheless, I don't think it would hurt to at least consult the EEOC to see what they say. If they confirm he doesn't have a leg to stand on because he was employed by the temp agency, I'm sure they'd be as quick to dismiss him as you seem to expect. In that case, since it doesn't go any further, I'm sure he wouldn't come across to prospective employers in the future as one whose litigious.

    BTW: I'm curious what you do for a living. PM me if you don't mind sharing but want it private. :D
  20. 'JC'


    Mar 14, 2000

    I said in most cases.
    I'm aware of how it works.

    Curiousity got the best of me so I've gone through the AP files of two companies I was at and checked the invoices. Based on my rate as well as finding out what other employees were making, I came to the conclusion the companies in question paid about 3-5 dollars more per hour than the wage the contractor was being paid.

    Company 1: An incredibly successful multi billion dollar company who has great benefits for their employees. Great account with Vanguard, pension plan, 401K matching + %, profit sharing, medical/dental/vision etc. Considering how much the company earns, why won't they spend the extra it takes to bring some employees on as full time? After I left I followed up with some friends still there and I found they had been told the truth. The company now has no plans to bring them on full time. Like me, they worked (or still do) over a year under the ruse "temp to hire" and despite doing the same work as others, did not and will not get the same compensation and benefits.

    Comapny 2: A company who is now hitting their prime in the US market. Doesn't earn as much as company 1, but pays the same in regard to contractor rates. Of the 16,000 employees, all but 3,000 are on the company payroll. I was able to access the company insurance invoices here and saw that they pay anywhere between 50 - 100 USD a month for insurance per employee. Now lets say a contractor makes 10/hr at the rate of 15 including tax to the agency. That's a differnce of 200 dollars per 40 hours if they were to cost 100/mo on insurance alone. So why is the company willing to pay extra here?
    So they can let them go when they want such as in Ben's case?

    Munji - if you have any ounce of ethics as an employer, and play the contractor game fair, than that's fine.

    My problem is most of the big name companies now who bring on contractors in as "temp to hire" and the agencies who state "temp to hire" in turn never coming through on the full time hiring resulting in someone being a full time temp and expect us to do so with a smile.

    In company 1, I had to sit in on weekly meetings and semi yearly meetings with CEOs about how good the company was doing. (In fact they made history this FY04. They become the xth company to ever sell a million units in one FY) So if things are so great, why shaft the temps? Why outsource 5 customer service jobs to India? Lets cut the BS. We all know why here.

    Constantly having to hear about how good ($$$) the company does as well as having the full timers gloat about their benefits and profit sharing took it's toll on me. I just quit caring and was let go after burining my bridges. I'm not going to publicly disclose what I did after my change in attitude, but I will say it went unnoticed for the most part and was costly and unethical on the company's behalf since I represented them. Would being treated the same as other employees have prevented this? Absolutely. I would have cared and gone the extra step to fix the situation.

    I can't say I dig what I do now 100% or care about the company, however I will do the work as expected only because I wasn't lied to this time by being told "temp to hire" and I understand why they cannot genuinely afford full time employment here at the moment. I respect that, and thus will honor my contract until it's up.