On Friday, January 30, I was fired from a very good position at a very large and well-respected healthcare company. Let me give you the timeline of events and please give me your thoughts on whether I have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning.
November 21, 2003: Received summons from the County Circuit Court to appear for Jury selection on January 22, 2004.
November 24, 2003: Informed supervisor that I will be out for Jury Duty on that day. She indicates she understands.
January 15, 2004: Reminded my supervisor that I will be attending Jury Duty in a week.
January 21, 2004: Once again reminded my supervisor that I will be out the next day for Jury Duty.
January 22, 2004: Attended Jury selection. Sat and waited eight hours before being called. Was herded into courtroom; didn’t answer “yes” to any questions. Selected for jury and told to return in the morning. Arrived home, called supervisor to inform her that I would be out the next day and possibly until Tuesday.
January 23, 2004: Arrived home from the first day of court to find a voicemail from my supervisor that something wrong happened while I was away and to call her. Given that it was 8 o’clock that night and I would be going into work the next day (Saturday), I didn’t call.
January 24, 2004: Arrived into work to find a slew of problems on my desk. Worked for four hours to get fixed what could be fixed on a Saturday. Emailed supervisor acknowledgement of issues and possible fixes. Went home.
January 26, 2004: Courts closed due to inclement weather. Went to work, since work would still be open during a nuclear holocaust. Supervisor had a “family emergency” and did not come in. Couldn’t get many issues resolved, since every business, government agency, and consultant was off except us.
January 27-29, 2004: After closing arguments and 12 hours of deliberation, the case has finished. It went two days longer than expected, and every night I called my supervisor and left a message to tell her I would be out the next day.
January 30, 2004: Arrived into work and asked to coming into my supervisor’s office. When asked why there were so many issues, I gently explained that I was out for jury duty for a week and tried to attend to what I could. When she explained that I should’ve called every day, I gently, but more firmly explained to her that we were either in the courtroom or the deliberation room all day, with no access to a phone. She replied that that was no excuse and I should’ve called my co-worker when I got home (I don’t have my co-worker’s home number). At that point, she informed me that today would be my last day at the company. She asked that I gather my things and be escorted out. I asked if I could come back at 5:30pm that day when there’s fewer people and she agreed. She called me at 3:00 and told me to come in on Monday to get my things.
February 2, 2004: Arrived at my former place of employment. Asked the security guard if he would escort me to my desk and escort me out. He agreed and I gathered my things. Walked out of the company for the final time.
Now before you make a decision, let me also add that per the employee handbook, we are guaranteed an exit interview upon termination, which I never received. I also have the key-card to get into the building, which they never asked for me to return.
I spoke to an employment lawyer who informed me that we could try the case, but there would be a $2,500 retainer fee. She also charges $275 per hour after the initial $2,500 gets used up, and $85 per hour for paralegal services. I have the option of taking it to District Court, where my award would be capped at $25,000, or Circuit Court, where there is no award cap. However, if I take it to Curcuit Court, my former company has a right to ask for a trial by jury, which my lawyer said would not be in my best interest.
One more thing: I’m not pursuing this for the money, although recouping my lost wages would be nice. What I’m really interested in is a written apology and a neutral or good recommendation to any future perspective employers.
So what do you all think? Do I have a case? Being in the healthcare industry, the company deals with a multidude of lawsuits daily. But what would they do in my situation?
Thank you also for reading such a long-winded post.