My U5 termination note states “Discharged for providing inaccurate information during internal investigation.
My problem is that I got fired for something completely unrelated to my job. Since the company happened to be my bank, I booked a hotel room and saw that I was charged before check in day. I called the hotel for that I wanted a refund as I was not comfortable being charged in advance, the hotel said to take it up with my bank. I told the bank I did not authorize the bank transaction and wanted my refund. During investigated the bank said that I provided false information in that I authorized the transaction and was not happy so I filed a fraud claim. I told the bank that I thought this was the procedure for refund. I was fired for that, and now I can't get a job. Please adviseA) U5 Form completed 1 week after I left the firm B) Derogatory and defaming comment on form C) I was never notified by the firm that the U5 information was posted D) U5 states “Discharged for providing inaccurate information during internal investigation” E) FINRA requires member firms to “provide sufficient detail when responding to Form U5 questions such that a reasonable person may understand the circumstances that triggered the affirmative response.” This was not done. In addition of being fired for what I thought was a normal procedure in getting refund for a transaction that I did not fully consent too, was that before I got fired my boss said that I am being fired a day before reaching my 90 days probationary period, and that the bank does not even need to have probable cause to fire me.
North Carolina is an employment-at-will state which means you can be fired for any reason and there is no liability for the employer unless there is an unlawful motive for the action taken against you. There are generally only two forms of unlawful motives: unlawful discrimination or unlawful retaliation. Discrimination in employment is unlawful if it is due to race, color, sex, national origin, religion, disability or age 40 or older. Retaliation in employment is unlawful if you engaged in one of a handful of "legally protected" activities and were fired for engaging in that activity. If either of these was the motive for the termination, then you may have a claim for unlawful termination.
You may be able to pursue a claim for defamation, but these are generally hard claims to file. That is likely the case here.
However, if I remember correctly, FINRA has an arbitration procedure which employee can use in certain situations if his/her employer is not following FINRA rules. It likely would make sense to explore that as an option.
Kirk J. Angel is an experienced attorney who focuses his practice on employment law. Mr. Angel, who has practiced employment law for more than 17 years, represents clients throughout North Carolina, Eastern and Middle Tennessee. This response is for general informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. Additionally, this response does not create an attorney client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer in your state who practices in the appropriate area.
Because your job is subject to federal regulation, you may need to seek the advice of an attorney who specializes in that area and is familiar with the process mandated by FINRA. From some cursory research I have done, it looks as though there is case law in other states that holds that the U5 can say just about whatever the former employer wants it to say, since the U5 is a public document that is intended to protect the public. Therefore, any defamation suit would be very tough, and the facts seem convoluted enough that 'truth' may be able to be asserted as a defense. The way you should get protected is to have a lawyer negotiate the wording of the U5 prior to termination. I understand that did not happen in this case, but I do believe that this is something that can be addressed through the arbitration process. You should absolutely consult with an attorney who lists representation of FINRA brokers in employer/employee disputes. You may try posing these questions to lawyers in the areas of Financial Services or Federal Regulation.
Licensed in North Carolina only. This post is intended for general informational purposes only. By submitting this information, I in no way intend to create an attorney-client relationship with any prospective reader, nor does this post serve to establish such an attorney-client relationship. You should consult with your local attorney prior to making any decisions which may impact your legal rights.
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