So. Got fired.

My job turned out differently than I thought. I was hired to be an executive assistant. This is what I do and what I’m good at. Anybody around here who is or has an EA knows it’s a specific skill set.

However, my job turned out to be a customer service rep/accounting position. I’m not any good at sales or collection. I’m good at deflecting people a VP doesn’t have the time to talk to. The job was wrong for me, and I should have known it. But I’m stubborn, and felt that if I just worked and tried hard enough, I could do it well.

The week before last, I went with my boss to Las Vegas for a trade show. We spent a lot of time together, I learned a lot, and I thought it was a positive experience. On Thursday evening, we went to a buffet. Within 1/2 hour after eating, I felt nauseous. I began vomiting that night. It continued, including on the plane (where I learned the flight attendant will let you get up with the seat-belt sign on if you’re throwing up). Saturday, the food poisoning hit my intenstines, too. By Monday night I was laying in a bed in urgent care with an IV in my arm. Took two full bags in under an hour.

I go home with a prescription for phenegren (sp?), a liquid diet to follow for the rest of the week, and instructions not to go back to work until I could keep food down. On Wednesday, my boss was so angry at me for my continued absence that I went back in. Weak, dizzy, exhausted, I drag myself to my desk. I got nothing done, save fouling up the office bathroom (sorry). Friday I am much the same.

Friday afternoon, I’m called into her office and provided with a written warning cataloging my sins, including my ‘excessive’ absence and accusing me of not calling out. (Untrue, for those who are interested). I sign it, because I feel like I have to and I’m so weak I can’t think straight. She says to think over the weekend abou whether this is a “good fit” and that we’d talk monday.

I go home, and panic about feeling so sick that I can’t show an immediate and signifigant improvement. I decide this is because I’m running on about 500 calories a day in soup and jello. I eat solid food on saturday. (Bread and Turkey, for the interested). I am, predictably, violently ill on Sunday.

Monday morning, I have a banana and vomit so hard I see stars (literally. It was actually really cool looking in and of itself.) This is in the office bathroom so everyone gets to hear it. Then I am called into her office, read a litany of all the things that haven’t been done since I’ve been out, how I didn’t do anything the two days I was there, etc, etc. I try to explain how sick I am, she accuses me of faking (then admits maybe it’s psychosomatic). She gets angry I’m arguing with her, and tells me she needs to terminate me.

Somehow, in my delerious state I end up agreeing to stay for two more weeks to tie up loose ends. I need the money. I then went home, slept for two days, and came in yesterday.

I’ve never been fired before, and this came at the worst possible time. I’m job hunting, but I just feel so depressed and helpless. I’m still feeling sick (can consume fruit and startch, eggs rejected as of this morning). I know my friends are sick and tired of reasuring me that I’m not incompetant and will too find a great new job, but I don’t feel that way. I am physically and mentally at my worst right now, how in hell do I sell myself to someone?

I’m just ranting, I guess, but I’m not angry enough for the pit. It’s mundane, it’s pointless, and I feel compelled to share it. Any other recently fired dopers out there, feel free to share your tale of woe. Misery loves company and all.

Oh, hang in there Obsidian .

Sorry…I’m bad at consoling people.

I’m so sorry.

It sounds like barfing on that bitch is still an option.

I don’t have a similar tale of woe, but I have been fired from two different jobs mere days after seeking medical attention. One was after a fairly routine doctor’s visit, the other was after a trip to the emergency room. The first job, I was days away from becoming eligible for insurance benefits, the other they weren’t even offered.

I have know way of knowing how, or even if, my employer found out I had been to the doctor/ER, but I just thought it was a strange coincidence.

The only thing I can say to your situation is that no reasonable employer considers missing two days of work to be “excessive absence”, and if you were ralphing in the company jakes where all and sundry could hear, then your boss was being unreasonable in expecting you to function at your normal level and she knows it. Too bad you didn’t have your wits about you when you were written up, because most of those warning forms have a place for employee comments. You could have written something like “I was only out two days, which is not excessive, supervisor knows I am seriously ill but demanded that I return to work against medical advice”, which might pull some weight with the HR department. But then, I gues it isn’t reasonable to expect someone who is on the verge of yakking to have the mental wherewithal to do that.

Is your company in financial trouble? I believe in some states, if an employer has a layoff, their unemployment premiums increase, but if an employee is fired “for cause”, they don’t. Here in Vegas, if a casino wants to trim staff, they will start by placing unreasonable demands on the employees, then write them up for “poor job performance” then “failuer to improve” when they fail to perform in a way which is simply not humanly possible, so they have a document trail prior to termination. If some of your coworkers are also being written up/terminated based on unreasonable demands, this may be what’s going on.

Or your boss may be trying to set you up for being denied unemployment benefits (my mother lost a job when her position was eliminated, then was denied benefits because her former employer claimed she was fired for misconduct, and another employer fired her then claimed that she quit for unknown reasons). There are employers who will do this strictly out of spite. Do you live in a state where termination “for cause” will lead to denial of benefits? Judging by your OP, looks like the boss lied about the nature of the job before you were hired, then when you didn’t perform up to her specs, was looking for an excuse to get rid of you that wouldn’t cost the company in unemployment premiums.

Save your medical documentation, kiddo. You may be able to sue for your job back, or if you don’t want it, you might at least manage some kind of severance package that will get you through until you find something better.

Good luck.

My roomate suggested I barf on her.

I was actually out 3 days. (She was pissed on Wed. so I was too scared to call out Thursday). I did call in late on Friday because I was having difficulty leaving the bathroom. 4 days if you count the last day at the trade show where I was chained to the toilet. She knew I intended to be out a week at least.

California is a state where I can be denied unemployment for being fired with cause. I am virtually certain that’s why she did it this way. The items on my warning were carefully chosen and placed out of context to make me look bad. (Like the day I failed to call out? I called 5 times between 7:30 and 8:30 AM before finally leaving voicemail on both her office and cell. She called me at 10:30 to ask why I hadn’t shown up. When I explained she admited she hadn’t checked her voicemail. Maybe I was supposed to go in because I couldn’t get her permission, but I wasn’t really asking. I was unable to be upright.)

I’ll file, what the hell else can I do? My friends think I may have some kind of case because I wasn’t given time to improve. Maybe. Not like I could improve, not until I got better. Her whole thing is, because it’s a small company, she can’t afford to have me out. Fine, whatever. I need to work for a large company where this is not the end of the world. What if I get the flu? What about when I have kids. (“Sorry, you’re going to need to give birth on a weekened because we just can’t give you the days”)

We’re not in trouble, in fact my position is already being advertised. Job description still calls for an EA, only now they want more experience (and more specific & higher level, too). Uh, yeah, lady? A 5yr+ corporate EA is going to want clean double what you pay me, and will never want to process UPS and refill the toilet paper.

I’m guessing she feels I was simply underqualified for the job (as opposed to over qualified and bored).

Why do I have such crappy luck with jobs?

I also vote for puking on the boss.

It sounds like you’ve really got it bad. My advise would be to save your strength, get well, THEN take on the man.

Getting fired because of what appears to be a legitimate (emergency) medical condition?

Perhaps contacting a lawyer should be in the cards.

Obsidian I am so sorry to hear your news. Sending supporting thoughts your way!

Me thinks you should call lawyer pronto. Also if you’re denied Unemployment, request a hearing, having been through one, I can tell you that they’re very reasonable people they’ll listen to your story and make a decision based on both sides.

You would be astonished at the rules that small businesses don’t have to follow. My contract specifies that I am an “at will” employee and can be fired (or quit) for any or no reason.

As far as I know, food poisoning is not an ADA protected disability. I’m SOL.

(Remember, also, that she doesn’t believe I’m really sick. It seems she thinks I’m either crazy or goofing off. Perhaps because neither she nor any of her friends got sick and they ate at the same buffet.)

I think she knew she wanted to get rid of me and took advantage of a situation that put me in a position of weakness.

Is all of this according to lawyer, what others tell you or what you’ve found out on your own?

Just because you are in an at will state, and worked for a small business does not mean you do not have rights.

Meanwhile, Obsidian, money must be tight, but can you get a check-up at the doc-in-the-box? It doesn’t sound as though your digestive tract is quite back on your team yet. You’ve been suffering for too long.

What MercyStreet said.

Like I said, save your medical documentation. Your doctor should have given you written orders about how long you should have stayed home near the toilet, what medication you were prescribed, etc. If you can prove that you were under doctor’s care, then you can probably demonstrate to the unemployment folks that you were, in fact, not fired “for cause” and be able to receive benefits.

It certainly sucks that you’re in California, an at-will employment state. And you’re right that you can be terminated at your employer’s whim. There are exceptions, but I don’t see anything you’ve written to indicate that those exceptions apply to you. And it’s too bad that you signed whatever you signed at a moment of duress. By signing, you probably made any legal action on your part more difficult. You can always sue, but it takes money and a lot of time, and the only winner is usually the lawyer. My suggestion is to focus on getting fully recovered, then find a more suitable job than the one you left. Good luck.

the fact is, the document was signed when the signee was medical incapacitated.

how is that going to stand when signee states, i signed anything that would allow me to leave the room to regurgitate?

as long as you have medical back up, you should be able to file for u.e. benefits.

this is a really unfair termination. i would at least explore talking to a lawyer.

best of luck in job hunting, and i hope your recovery is swift.

In my opinion you should not only get the days off to get well, but get worker’s comp because you got ill due to the business trip you took! I guess it just doesn’t work that way though.

I definitely agree that you should keep all of your medical records. You were unjustifibly fired.

It is also obvious that they don’t even know how to advertise for job positions. Someone applying for and EA job would typically NEVER put up with doing customer service type work. I was an assistant for about six years, and moved to that field to get away from customer service.

Good luck finding a new job! I’m sure this is all for the best anyways. You probably would have not been happy working under someone so uncompassionate. Now you can find an even better position. :slight_smile:

I don’t want my job back at this point. I’d never sleep well again. Also, I really can’t see there being anything illegal about my dismissal. Shitty, yes. But legal.

However, I think you guys are right in that I may be able to fight my boss’s “misconduct” claim to deny me unemployment. The whole situation is very wierd and murky, and that may work to my advantage, esp with the illness involved. In the case of firing, the onus is the company to prove that I was justly fired. I think I have a good case for getting unemployment.

I’m home now, and I feel better just being in my house. Being at work just upsets me. I know I’ll be happier at a new job. It’s just I’m someone who used to get flowers and chocolate and goodies on Secretaries’ Day. Being told I suck so much that I’m being fired has left the ego a bit bruised (even if the accusations are untrue).

I sympathize with you, Obsidian. I think you’re absolutely right - she was looking for a reason to bounce you. I had a job where I was hired to be a sales assistant - mostly administrative. Two weeks later, I was the inside sales person, taking half the sales calls that came in. I hate taking calls, and I hate sales - I lasted almost two years before they fired me.

My best advice - go to the Employment Insurance people when you can, but mostly concentrate on looking after yourself, mentally and physically. You’re right when you say you’re not too attractive to potential employers right now - you need to give yourself time to grieve and re-group.

If you can’t find anything in San Francisco, Calgary is crying for experienced Executive Assistants. The oil and gas business here would have you working for a great salary in no time flat.

Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

On second reading, I should clarify that I mean you’re not attractive to prospective employers because you’re hurting, not because you’re incompetent or a bad person in any way. It really is an ego blow to get fired like that - please don’t take it too personally, though. If you know you’re a good employee, hang onto that. Your ex-boss sounds like a jerk; try to see that it’s a good thing that you don’t fit with people like that.

Oh man. Having gone through a recent near-firing, I feel your pain.

Sounds like it wasn’t a good fit for either of you.

[trite expression]
When one door closes, a window opens.
[sup]or some such nonsense[/sup]
[/trite expression]

Best of everything to you!