I reported to my immediate supervisor a customer threatened me by pulling a gun to my face while inquiring my home address to find me, in the event I happen to visit any of his customers in his area. I was told not to visit that account anymore and not to visit any prospects hat might be doing business with my customer.
Two weeks later, I was fired for being a liability. The company does not want to deal with situations like this.
Unless you have a contract that states otherwise (or belong to a union) this is an "at will" employment state and you can be fired for no reason (but not because of protected status such as race, religion, etc.)
However, if someone ever pulled a gun on me, my next stop would be the police where I would insist the person be arrested for assault Then perhaps on to civil court to get a "stay away" restraining order. What a ... that person was/is.
The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advise" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.
Under the realm of employment law, you might have a case for retaliation.
In California, an employer can terminate your employment at any time without cause unless you are a member of a union or have a written employment contract.
However, California Labor Code § 6310 (a)(1) prohibits an employer from discharging an employee for making a health or safety complaint. Pursuant to California Labor Code § 6310 (b), “[a]ny employee who is discharged, threatened with discharge, demoted, suspended, or in any other manner discriminated against in the terms and conditions of employment by his or her employer because the employee made a bona fide oral or written complaint to.. .his or her employer, or his representative, of unsafe working conditions, or work practices, in his or her employment or place of employment.. .shall be entitled to reinstatement and reimbursement for lost wages and work benefits caused by the acts of the employer.”
Under California Labor Code § 6310 “an employee is protected against discharge or discrimination for complaining in good faith about working condition or practices which he reasonably believes to be unsafe, whether or not there exists at the time of the complaint a [regulation or statute] which is being violated.” (Hentzel v. Singer Co. (1982) 138 Cal.App.3d 290, 299.)
Frank W. Chen is licensed to practice law in the State of California. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.
I am an attorney who represents employees -- not employers.
The facts you stated are interesting. However, in order to know if you have a case, an attorney would need to know more information. Questions I would want to know include: (1) How many years did you work for the employer before this happened; (2) What is your employment history like?; (3) Have any of your co-workers complained that you had anger management issues?; and, (4) Have there been other problems with the same customer that you complained about?
If you were just recently hired, I would have a tendency to side with your employer. On the other hand, if you are a long-time employee with no history of this type of thing happening before, I'd talk to an employment lawyer.
Visit: www.cela.org (Califonria Employment Lawyers Association) if you can't find someone you like in your area on AVVO.
Before your question may be properly answered, we need to know what type of entity your employer is. For example, is it a private or government company. If it's a government employer, many laws that apply to private employers wouldn't apply to government employers-pursuant to certain immunities. However, at the same time, government employers have unions involved, which means your employment was governed by some type of Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU"). If your employer is governmental, I would recommend contacting your union and also researching your MOU for grievenance procedures and requirements. Not following proper grievance procedures, may prevent you from bringing a lawsuit against your employer.
If your company is private, it really depends on your employer's motive behind your termination. If you were terminated because of your complaint of unsafety, your employer may potentially be liable for its retailatory conduct. However, if the employer had legitimate, non-retailtory motives behind your termination, although their decision may be wrong, it was nevertheless legal and permitted. It doesn't matter whether the employers decision was right or wrong, but rather, was it motivated by illegal reasons. I would recommend contacting a lawyer as employment law is very difficult and case specific. Good luck and hopefully this comment was of some assistance.
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