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Do I need an employment lawyer?

Silver Spring, MD |

maryland employment law
I was recently terminated with an explanation given to me that " I have been in HR for 27 years and might feeling is telling me the best thing to do is terminate the relationship now". I believe my boss is retaliating against me for a few reasons.
First, dating back to June 18th we had a meeting to discuss my employment (I had just received a review 35 days prior that was OUTSTANDING) she asked me in the meeting if things were bothering me and said she felt I was not focused. She asked me why I hadn't submitted candidates for a job(I was a recruiter) and I disagreed with her and said that I submitted as many qualified candidates I could given the parameters they placed around the search. She told me after I submitted a few resumes she "did not want to hire a a black man and all their woe is me issues and their attitudes of everyone trying to get them" and I continued to submit resumes of candidates that she would disregard because of their names or if they appeared to be black.

Then a month later I went on vacation and they hired someone for the role I was trying to fill that I mentioned above. We were restructuring the recruiting department because I was the only recruiter and doing budgeted and non budgeted recruitment. They hired a white male paying him twice the wage I was making to do half of the work I had been doing over the course of a year.

I then trained the new guy a bit and things were fine. I found out I was accepted into apart time MBA course that required me to attend orientation for the duration of 2 weeks- I asked my supervisor for permission to work a modified schedule for 1 week (work remote and still use remaining vacation hours all while making sure all of my work was completed) she said no - on Friday afternoon and basically told me I have some decisions to make. Monday morning I requested to use a personal day so I could try to speak with the director of the program and get excused and she told me again if I did not attend the part time orientation schedule I would have to defer my acceptance for 1 year. My boss and I exchanged several emails and I told her I love my job, I did not want to quit but I wanted to make both of these things work. Then she told me in writing- there is no reason my company would terminate me - the only reason they terminate employees is due to excessive lateness, absences or performance issues. This meeting happened Tuesday morning and when I gotta work she had already disabled my access because she said she didn't know if I was coming in- which I thought was exemely weird cause I had never ever not showed up to work- Wednesday I had pre planned leave. Then Thursday afternoon she calls me into her office and told me she decided to terminate me after much thought and she realizes I will not be focused and she feels 2-3 classes would be a lot(classes were after work hours) and she knows how these things work and that we should separate it now. I asked for a reason for my termination and she stated she did not need to provide me with one.

I worked for this company for 1 year- initially for 3 months as an independent contractor and then as a full time employee. Then they said I was not eligible for severance because of my length of employment and they would only pay me for my last week worked. Then they emailed me a "transition document" that is asking me to sign away my rights to pursue legal action and to make myself available for 2 weeks for any employees who have questions about any jobs for 2weeks pay in return at my base salary that is not even accurate in the letter. I really need help- I dont know what to do- now they are forcing me to return this document within 24 hours and now I'm unemployed and will not even be able to pay for school/tuition or rent.

Attorney Answers 3

  1. Yes, contact a local employment law attorney to fully evaluate your options.There may be issues of racial discrimination or retaliation here.

    I have been licensed to practice in the State of Oregon since 1990. I am not offering legal advice regarding your question, only general information regarding the law. You are not my client nor am I your attorney unless we sign a retainer agreement.

  2. We must determine whether you were an "at will" as opposed to "for cause" employee. In Maryland employer retains right to terminate "at will" employee for no reason at all. Moreover, "for cause" employee can be terminated for a reasonable cause. Retaliation maybe difficult to establish if public officials were not notified as to employer's discriminatory practices. Without more info regarding type of employment, I am unable to say whether or not you need an attorney to pursue potential causes of action based on exceptions recognized by Maryland courts to right of employer to terminate "at will" or for cause."

  3. There appears to be a prima facie case for discrimination and retaliation depending on addtional facts that you post did not disclose. There also may personal animosity and insuecurity that may gotten into the mix. You need to pull all of the relevant documentation, prepare a detailed chronology or timeline and consult with an employment attorney ASAP. Please do not sign a release without negotiating an enhanced severeage package and guaranteeing that you will receive fair and positive employment references.

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