March 13, 2024 at 12:54 am

Their Boss Fired Them A Bogus Reason, So They Did A Ton Of Employment Law Research And Ended Up Getting Paid Big

by Matthew Gilligan

Source: Reddit/AITA/Unsplash/@nastyakamil

It pays to know your rights!

And that includes school, life, and especially work.

Because you better believe that a lot of bosses out there try to screw workers over in every way they can!

But this person knew what was up and they handled this expertly.

Check out their story below, we think you’ll be impressed.

I Got Fired: Employer’s Lawyers Should Have Done Their Homework… I Did.

“I got a job basically office-sitting on weekends. I showed up at 8am and every hour I checked over things, handled the occasional phone call, and then left when the 4pm person arrived. Most of the time I read, watched TV, or played games on my laptop. I probably worked no more 10 minutes of every hour unless something went wrong.

It went on like this for years. The pay was decent, holidays were double pay, and I even had opportunities to cover weekday shifts when others were sick.

There was a new development.

One day while I was covering the mid-day shift, my boss asked me to come into his office. He told me that the evening weekday position was going to become available that night. He offered me the position which I accepted. I was told to punch out and return at 5pm that night. The reason it went down like this should be obvious.

Things went ok for a while. I showed up at 4pm, did the normal things, and then left at 12am when my relief arrived. It was a little more work, more call volumes, etc. Then, after nine months, things started to go south.

There was an issue…

The daytime person developed a huge attitude problem and went from a nice person to a total Karen. She would complain about everything I did. For example, one time a system jammed up at a remote site and she called them.

Five hours later I saw the jam was still there so I called that site again to see if they were still working on it or if something else was wrong because the woman on our end who would be the one to help them was leaving soon. They did have a problem and so I hooked them up.

This Karen was a real…Karen…

My “reward” for making sure the problem got solved and not having to bother an upper-level employee at home, on a Friday, just after having left work? I got yelled at because Karen complained that I had apparently “ignored her log entry” about the issue. My defense was ignored. The boss had me highlight important things on the log to verify that I had read them.

Things plodded on for a while with this new “normal”. I tiptoed around Karen when needed, thankful for the fact I only had to deal with her for no more than five minutes. I did the stupid highlighting thing and my log entries started getting more and more detailed, even referencing Karen’s calls when I had to follow-up on an issue that crossed shifts.

The Firing

The following summer just after I crossed year mark, I went on vacation to visit some friends out of state. When I got back, after about a week, my boss came down after everyone had left and had me describe how I did a certain task which involved certain updates.

They were in for a big shock.

I explained to him how I did it and so forth. He then told me that I had not been doing it at all and that he was firing me. I had transposed the date code of the English file for the French file which was the previous one. The newest one had already been applied anyways so nothing was wrong. It was just a reason to get rid of me.

So I left the office. My state is an “at-will” employment state which means that I can quit at any time for any reason and my employer can terminate me at anytime for any reason. The only exceptions were state and federal laws such as race, religion, etc. I thought I was screwed. So I just started applying everywhere I could.

Wait, what’s this?

During my job search I happened to accidentally stumble upon a link about employment law. Out of curiosity I read it and discovered that my employer had shot themselves in the foot. In the employee handbook, there was a “job security clause”.

What this stated was that they would never lay us off and such if our jobs were eliminated. We would simply be retrained and sent to fill an opening elsewhere in the company. It sounds good, but it resulted in them cooking up reasons to fire people to get around it. But their fancy, high-priced lawyers had missed something.

In my state’s laws, the ones passed by the legislature, I was screwed because of “at-will”. What they neglected was case law, the ones determined by courts.

This site cited a case from the state’s Supreme Court that had ruled that a job security clause waived “at-will” on the employer side, turning it into a “just cause” relationship. This means that they had to have a real reason to fire me.


The Revenge

With that in hand, I sought out a lawyer. After my consultation with her, I set about collecting my evidence. My former boss did not realize that I knew more about this program than he did seeing as I ran the same software on my own computer and laptop. I experimented.

The date of the file, which they tried to use against me, is baked into the version too. I was able to demonstrate to my lawyer that if I applied the same update over and over, which my former employer stated would change the date every day, would, in reality, display the date of the file.

I showed this by backdating my own copy by a year using the update archive available from the vendor.

Next, I showed her how the task used to be automated. A script would snag the file and process it every day on its own. A change on the vendor’s site broke the script. It was an easy fix but no one bothered to do it because the guy who had wrote it retired. The fix involved deleting three characters on one line in the script.

The task was also marked as only being a weekday task. In my firing I was told how “important” this update was and so forth. If it was so important, why was it not done on weekends or holidays?

The vendor pushed out updates on those days too as I showed my lawyer the one from Christmas morning. And why had the automation not been fixed?

Take that!

With all that in hand she contacted them. After presenting them with the law they broke and all the evidence I had collected, they were forced to settle with me.

So in the end, their fancy high-priced lawyers did not do their homework… I did.

Thank you to the wonderful librarians I have known in my life who taught me my information literacy skills.

They paid dividends in this case.”

Now let’s see how Reddit users reacted to this story.

One reader said THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT!

Source: Reddit/AITA

Another Reddit user talked about their brother’s work situation…

Source: Reddit/AITA

This person made a good point…

Source: Reddit/AITA

This individual talked about when they got fired.

Source: Reddit/AITA

And this person talked about people not knowing their rights…

Source: Reddit/AITA

Do your homework, friends!

It’s worth it!

If you liked that post, check out this one about an employee that got revenge on HR when they refused to reimburse his travel.