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Fired For Being A Disabled Vet


Whiskey13
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Has anyone else experienced being fired for being a disabled veteran?

What kind of assistance, financial and legal, were you able to secure?

What hurdles did you encounter?

My story: I was employed as a warehouse manager with a Fortune 500 company. When I was hired, the company had me complete paperwork which identified me as both a veteran and disabled. I informed my HR rep and my regional director of my VA rating, PTSD and back injury. I explained that during stressful situations I would possibly need to take a 5-10 minute break to gather myself and continual heavy lifting aggravated my back injury. They informed me that taking breaks would not be a problem and as a manager, heavy lifting was not part of the job. Things were going well for the first few months and I really enjoyed my job, despite the office drama that occurred. One employee seemed to always be causing drama with the other employees and I constantly asked that she stopped. This resulted in her complaining to HR that I was acting like a drill sergeant and thus began my reputation with Corporate for being one. It didn't matter that I was not acting like a drill sergeant and had statements from other employees stating such.

My problem employee decided one day that she did not like that I released another employee early to go to an appointment. She began screaming at me and using profanity. I fired her on the spot, but made the mistake of telling her, "Get the xxxx out of my warehouse". This happened on a Friday and HR brought her back to work the next Tuesday. She received no disciplinary action, but I was given a counseling statement for using profanity. I continued to have issues with her harassing other employees, but any action I attempted to take against her was ignored by HR and my supervisors. I was told what she was doing was not reasons for termination. Her harassment of other employees continued in the months that followed.

In the middle of 2013, I looked into getting a PTSD service dog in order to get off medication. When I contacted HR, they told me I would not be able to bring the dog to work. I knew this violated ADA rules, but kept my mouth shut in order to not make waves and keep my job.

In July of 2014, a new regional director took over for my area. We had a conversation to get to know each other and I informed him of my military status and disabilities. He didn't seem to have any issues with me and I was looking forward to working for him. In September, we had a slow down in production, which meant we were not replacing anyone who quit. When our staffing had been cut to the bone, I requested a replacement for an employee who had resigned. This set my supervisor off. He informed me that I was to work in the warehouse, despite my back injury, lifting 40lb boxes of parts. This meant handling 175 boxes during the shift. He stated, "I don't care. You do what needs to be done or I will find someone who can make it happen". I did not want to lose my job and did as he instructed, resulting in me needing to take more pain killers to get through the day.

In November, the company won some federal contracts as was required to identify veterans and people with disabilities again. I filled out their paperwork as requested.

In December, he called to discuss our staffing plan which had been agreed upon and in place for 4 months. He was demanding changes to it, which had significant impact on other employees. Each time I tried to speak, he would interrupt me and I became frustrated. I told him, "We need to end this conversation and bring David (his supervisor and my former regional director) into the conversation. His response was, "You are dismissed. I will call you tomorrow to let you know when you can return to work". I never returned to work and was terminated on December 12th with two weeks of paid vacation. The reason for termination was for allegedly stating, "I am tired of this BS". I never said that to him and have two witnesses who were present during my original phone call with him. During the termination phone call, the director of HR was on the line also. They told me there were other reasons for my termination, but they refused to tell me what those were.

I have contacted the Equal Opportunity Commission and filed a complaint. They are starting an investigation.

I contacted my VSO and he had me fill out a request for financial assistance, but so far it has been denied, because I haven't proven that I was not terminated for misconduct.

I have applied for and been approved for unemployment benefits.

I have attempted to contact various labor attorneys, but they have either not returned my calls or have told me to take the severance package I was offered. If I would have taken the severance package, it meant I would waive my rights to litigation.

There are more details concerning the harassment I endured by my employer concerning my military service and disabilities, but I would like to keep this post short and not write a novel.

I need some guidance, because I have been unable to find employment and am now down to my last $200. Thankfully, I have a freezer full of meat and potatoes and rice are cheap.

One last thing; my former employer did not send my second to last paycheck on time which caused numerous checks to bounce. Thankfully, my bank really does support veterans and waived the NSF charges. I still have not received my last paycheck and any requests for its status are answered with, "It's on its way". I am not begging for money. Just wanted to add that, as it is causing me a great deal of stress as I was finally getting my finances back in order from the divorce. Feels like each time I stand up, I get knocked back down.

Mac

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Find your state laws re: final paycheck http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/final-paycheck-employee-rights-chart-29882.html

Look at your state labor department's page to find what letter to email/letter to send your former employer and other recourse.

I did that once and it lit a fire under their butt and I got paid.

Good luck! :smile:

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"In November, the company won some federal contracts as was required to identify veterans and people with disabilities again. I filled out their paperwork as requested."

Yippee. Fed contractors fall under DOL disabled vet quidelines.

(But those guidelines aint worth shit. My husband filed 16 complaints against a federal contractor ,with DOL.Until the contractor finally hired him.

"I have contacted the Equal Opportunity Commission and filed a complaint. They are starting an investigation."

Yippee to that too.

I did all the paperwotrk with DOL for those 16 DOL complaints I mentioned.

After my husband was hired, they had a brief lay off and he was supposed to be, under DOL regs and ADA, the first person to be recalled.

His performance appraisals revealed no problems.

They recalled instead someone else. Long story.

Then they told DOL ( this was the 17th complaint I prepared for him ) that he had created a "hostile work environment".

I prepared his EEOC ADA complaint myself and sat on the Post Office steps until they opened because the ADA had just became law, the day before, and this was a few months after this illegal recall.

I couldnt wait to mail the charges.

The EEOC lawyer , a few months later, told me he thought it was not only the first EEOC ADA case filed in NY, but it was also the first WINNER!

"I have attempted to contact various labor attorneys, but they have either not returned my calls or have told me to take the severance package I was offered. If I would have taken the severance package, it meant I would waive my rights to litigation."

Interesting......I would depend on the EEOC/ADA lawyers to determine if that was a fact.

"The reason for termination was for allegedly stating, "I am tired of this BS". I never said that to him and have two witnesses who were present during my original phone call with him."
Will they support that with a notarized statement if needed?
" During the termination phone call, the director of HR was on the line also. They told me there were other reasons for my termination, but they refused to tell me what those were."

They will have to tell the EEOC.

It has been a long time since I wrote the EEOC ADA complaint, many PCs ago, and I also prepared all of the evidence.
This part was serendepidious. The DOL, under my FOIA request , sent me stuff as to my husband's 17 complaints that was not supposed to be released under FOIA. Then they threatened to send a US MArshall here right away to get it back . I missed a yard sale waiting for the US Marshall (I had copied what I needed anyhow) and called The US Marshall's office in Rochester to see just when the marshall was coming.

I learned rather quickly that NO US Marshall was coming here, it was just a lie on DOL's part.

The FOIA info I got was Golden! The EEOC lawyer agreed with me that those other complaints under DOL definitely had merit and were instrumental in their investigation to prove discrimination against my husband, 30% SC for PTSD at that time.

No internet as well know it now, when this all occurred.

And we never even considered trying to get a lawyer.

The DOL regs and the EEOC ADA regs were good enough and we had prime facie Evidence of discrimination.

You need to google those regulations on line and shape your situation to fall into them.

We never even thought of getting notarized statements from co workers....because the performance appraisals for my husband were always satisfactory.

They only used the "hostile environment " approach when they got the 17th complaint from DOL.

That would be a good move for you to make, to get as many statements of support as possible,from your co workers..

Do you have all of your performance appraisals from the company ?

Personally I feel you could handle all this yourself without a lawyer.

The EEOC ADA lawyers will be fair and base their decision on all evidence they have.

Dont forget Federal Contractors have to keep records of all disabled vets they hire as you know ( so the books look like they are hiring disabled vets)

I got under FOIA plenty of info on the fed contractor my husband's case involved.

I learned they had hired only 2 disabled vets in about 25 years. One disappeared off the records a few years prior to my husband's hiring ( only worked there for about 6 months) and they fired the other vet, a disabled Navy Seal , a few months prior to his tenured 20 year retirement.

Companies that fall under DOL and EEOC ADA regulations, as to hiring disabled /handicapped individuals ,to include disabled veterans , COUNT ON disabled veterans not to fight back if they believe they were discriminated against.

Many do not fight back at all making it easy for the discrimination to continue to occur.

The Navy Seal asked me to help him and I did, until I found he was unwilling to go to a deposition the company had arranged.I had been willing to go with him but wanted to read some evidence he said he had first, to see how he should present it. I never saw the evidence.

He told me the AM of the deposition he had changed his mind about fighting for his job and was not going to go to the deposition.

These were all Vietnam Vets.

Get this, for months after the recall fiasco we continued to receive the company's newsletter, and right before the ADA made them cough up some cash for the discrimination case my husband had , their newsletter had a brief statement about how much they want to hire disabled vets and had a big article jabout how they had just hired a Vietnamese woman in a high position.

They had a photo of her on the first page of the news letter.

I sure have nothing against the Vietnamese.It was great she got this good job.

But it was as if the company was telling the Navy Seal and my husband , who still got the newsletter, we will hire a Vietnamese person but

to disabled Vietnam vets,who expect to work for us...

F--- YOU.

Edited by Berta
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My co-workers are wiling to file notarized statements concerning the telephone conversation where I was dismissed and my treatment by upper management.

Sadly, my assistant (non-veteran) quit because they fired me. Didn't want him losing his job over this, but he couldn't handle working for them anymore. The employee that was always causing others problems was hired in my position and would have been his supervisor. My fiancé' was sitting in my office when the call took place, so she got to hear everything. She has a great calming effect on me and her support is rock solid.

I was to receive a total of six performance reviews during my employment, but received only one. It was above satisfactory. I kept hard copies and digital copies of everything, including my notes on the harassment. When they were packing my personal belongings up from the office, the director of North American ops found the hard copy file and refused to return it. This was witnessed by an employee who is willing to make a statement. His comment was, "If he thinks he is getting this file, he is crazy. I'm taking it with me".

I requested a copy of my personnel file, but they refused that request. They don't have to provide it under the law, or at least that is what they told me. I have kept that letter. I have never seen the file they kept on me, but the only thing negative in it would have been the counseling statement for dropping the F-bomb when firing my problem child.

Another thing I just discovered while going through all of the paperwork this afternoon: They withheld child support from my paycheck. I finished paying child support in November of 2013 and never had my wages garnished to pay it, because I always paid on time or early. All pay statements for the last year show no child support being taken out, but for some reason they decided to on my last check. Just another hurdle to jump.

As part of my termination, but not under the severance package, the company offered me the services of a job placement agency. This company is supposed to assist me in finding another job, but I question their intent. They offered to email resumes for me, but asked for my email password in order to do it and today they called to see how I was doing and to ask if I had returned the severance package yet. I try not to be paranoid, but who asks for email passwords and why would they be concerned if I signed the package or not? I really am not wearing a tinfoil hat. :sad:

Thank you for the info. I am burning up the internet researching all of this.

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Sorry to hear of your troubles, and I know how you feel bud. I had to resign as an agent in 2013 due to chasing child molesters and rapists. I had to quit before I got myself in trouble. Sad thing is that I feel these days that all we do is Vent and Complain, yet no one comes to the rescue. God bless and good luck

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The USPS was going to fire me as a disabled vet because they thought I was dangerous and I had had a confrontation with a supervisor. I was about as dangerous as a frog. Anyway, I hired a MSPB lawyer and we tried to tie in the disability factors but the MSPB judge would not allow it. All my lawyer did was get the USPS to agree to let me take disability retirement. What my lawyer also did was to add a clause that nothing in our settlement would disallow me from filing for workers compensation. I used the incident with the supervisor as an aggravation of my VA disability since they knew I was having mental health problems due to chronic pain that was work related. I won the worker's compensation claim and I got 75% of my salary for about 18 months before I got the VA to award me TDIU. I was getting SSDI the whole time. So they threw this disabled vet right into the briar patch. My private disability insurance policy kicked in as well. The USPS wanted me gone and I was gone but they paid for it and are still paying for treatment, but not compensation. I had to give up worker's compensation when I got TDIU. It was a good trade because with VA I got "S" and all the benefits of P&T.

So you can be fired as a disabled vet but you can sure make them pay for firing you. The USPS could have retained me, but they hate disabled workers. They went out of their way not to accommodate me. My nurse at the VA has fused discs in her back and neck and can't do shit. Yet she is hanging onto her job. She showed me pics on her smart phone of x-rays of her neck and back. The worst I ever saw. VA tried to retire her, but she would not go along with it and they have accommodated her. I don't know how long she will last with a back and neck like what I saw. She was a vet. These companies if they are not really small outfits they can accommodate you if they have the desire to do it. They talk about being patriotic and screw a vet to the wall. I know what I would like to do to some of these people. Like Ali said " Them Viet Cong never did nothing to me". Your fellow citizens are the ones screwing you half the time.

John

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