Last year I asked for a copy of my personal file and found a false statement that has caused me to find work

On May 15 2013 I was called into the office and the HR manager, Heidi Lavigne, started asking me if I needed another truck loader on the dock because they where thinking of hire one, It was small talk to see my reply. Anyway then she said do I know why she called me in there and I said no. She then proceeded to tell me that an employee came in and said I have alcohol on my breath, my first response was send me for a drug and alcohol test. She told me there was no need after talking to me she said I was alright to go back to work. I drive a 6000 lb. fork truck in and out off trailers and where pedestrians walk. The next day I come in and get called to the production managers office and he tells me the General Manager, Jason Corrugan wants Bill Witkowski to cut my pay 2.00 an hour because I came in with alcohol on my breathe the day before. I refused to sign and then was told if I do not sign I would be fired. I have a disabled wife at home and could not afford to lose my job so I signed the paper that gave them permission to cut my pay. In 2016 I found out the plant was moving from Thompson Ct. to Newtown Ct. but Rand-Whitney was going to come in and hire most of us.I did not get hired and have applied for several jobs since and got turned down. I asked a friend who works with his supervisor to find out why they would not hire me, I have worked in corrugated for 39 years, his supervisor replied he is a drinker. They got to see our personal files and that lie would be the only reason he would say that. I just found out why Rand-Whitney will not hire me. Last year I asked for a copy of my personal file and I will send you what I found which I did not see until seeing my personal file. After you see the memo I have a few questions. If it is true that I had alcohol on my breathe, what is the company policy to put the employee on a 6000 lb. fork truck? This whole thing is a lie and I am still paying for it to this day. Is Heidi Lavigne a human breathalyzer. This is not only a defamation of character,slander or discrimination-this should be a criminal case.

Asked on July 8, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Connecticut

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You have no recourse for not being hired by THIS employer (e.g. when they moved the job, but did not take you), because of "employment at will": an employer may legally cut the pay of, suspend, terminate, or refuse to hire an employee for any reason whatsoever, even factually inaccurate ones. Under employment at will, you effectively have no rights to your job and therefore no legal claim for not getting or keeping a job.
The above includes the company which bought out the old company: since they bought the old company, they effectively "became" the old company for this purpose, and so could again terminate you, refuse to transfer or retain you, etc. for any reason, even a mistaken one, the way any employer can.
However, if they have been telling *other* employers--unrelated companies or businesses, such as if those other companies are calling for a reference--that you are a drinker when you are not, that would be defamation. While person or company A can act on whatever it believes, even if wrong, if person or company A makes an untrue factual statement about you to person or company B which damages your reputation, that is defamation. In this case, you could file a defamation lawsuit for compensation. To explore this option, consult with a personal injury attorney (the same lawyers who do do slip-and-fall cases also do defamation cases).


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