Terminated after following regional managers instructions

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Terminated after following regional managers instructions

My employment was terminated after I carried
out instructions from my immediate/Regional
Manager to deny a customer entry to our
business. After being questioned by the owner,
twice, it was ‘found’ that my version differed
from ‘everyone’ else’s. Although, my
conversation with said regional manager,
owner of company, and referenced customer
were witnessed by my two former employees.
Customer felt comfortable enough to inform me
directly via phone, that he possibly contracted
Hepatitis-A and taking medical leave of
absence from work. He wanted to know what
‘we’ could do to help him with his account until
he went back to work and/or had the financial
ability to bring account current. I explained
company policy was for him to visit office to
discuss options. Appointment was set for office
visit the following Monday. After ending our
conversation I notated the account and
discussed this with my employees. One
employee explained that she has a medical
condition that lowers her immune system and
she isn’t supposed to be around any type of
Hepatitis per her doctor. I immediately called
my regional manager to discuss the situation
and receive advice on how to handle this
particular situation. Side note- at this time I/All
employees we ignorant as to exactly what
Hepatitis-A was and how it is
contracted/spread so we, including myself,
were concerned with customer visiting office
My regional managers initial reaction was ‘oh
ewe, no he doesn’t need to come inside the
office’ and instructed me to call him back and
make arrangements to keep in touch every
Monday until able to bring account current.
After unsuccessfully reaching the customer to
make arrangements, my staff and I started to
research the condition and how it’s spread.
While researching, we learned that this is
spread by fecal matter not airborne or through
contact. With the exception of the feces being
transferred by shaking hands and not
sanitizing/washing hands before consuming the
fecal matter that was transferred. Once we ALL
learned this, we were more at ease/confident
about the customer coming into the office.
However, since unable to reach customer to
make other arrangements/abiding by regional
managers instructions, when the customer kept
his promise to visit the office that Monday I
met him at the door. I made sure there were no
other people within hearing distance except for
my two employees. I explained the situation
with employees low immune system and direct
orders from doctor not to be near any Hepatitis
and explained the discussion I had with
regional manager. As we had a very close and
positive rapport, I even joked with him saying ‘I
know we don’t plan on consuming your fecal
matter.’ This was said after I asked how he
was doing? How’s he feeling? Had he heard
from the doctor with results? He didn’t have
positive confirmation of Hepatitis-A yet When
is next appointment to see doctor/get results?
Said customer chuckled and sarcastically
commented back. I apologized for regional
managers decision and told him we all hope
everything goes well and gets better soon.
After confirming arrangements to call our
office/keep us updated every Monday he
displayed disappointment and said not
verbatim, more of ‘along the lines of’ ‘I won’t
come in and contaminate your office since your
manager is ignorant.’ We both laughed, I told
him we’ve missed his presence and to keep in
touch personally .. No further contact
attempted until he missed scheduled
appointment to call office the following Monday.
We attempted to call/left voicemail asking for
return call. And if I remember correctly,
because of the sensitivity of situation, I
instructed my employees to break policy and
make 2nd attempt to his personal number only
the next day or only his and spouses number
our business relationship with his spouse was
positive and trusting we had known the spouse
for a shorter period of time. Not as close of a
rapport as with the customer to give either of
them a chance to return our call. Day 3 or 4 I
instructed them to follow policy and contact
customers employer and references. The
spouse returned our call very upset/angrily
stating that the customer was completely
disrespected, upset/depressed, and not going
to return our calls to only call this number
spouse to handle his account and not to
attempt calling customer direct again. My CSR
took the call and because of rushed/hostile
nature, unable to transfer the call to me. I had
her input her notes from the call into his
account and I immediately contacted my
regional manager. She instructed me to not
‘work’ his account again until she was either
able to reach them customer/spouse to try
and resolve/diffuse the situation or she
contacted/explained incident to the company
owner. We didn’t work the account for several
days and since I had not heard back from
regional manager I contacted her to inquire
about what she was able to do since she had
not contacted me or input any notes into the
customers account showing contact/attempted
contact. She informed me that we were not to
work the account again and she hadn’t
found/made a resolution yet. She I didn’t ask
didn’t tell me what attempts she had made at
this point. Several days/weeks passed without
working the account or having shown any
attempts to resolve situation, while I was at
home sick/out of work, I received a text
message from regional manager asking if I had
spoken with customer/spouse and she ‘really
needed to talk to me about this.’ After receiving
the messages I called her, that’s when she
explained that customer/spouse were retaining
a lawyer to sue the company. I explained that I
had not spoken to either of them nor had I
made any attempts business/personal related
to contact them. She replied with only ‘okay’
When I asked why, she wouldn’t give an
explanation for asking. A few days later I
received a call at the office from company
owner asking, in my words, to explain the
situation. With both of my employees present
and listening, I explained. He then thanked me
and ended call. I asked both employees if I had
explained accurately and if I had missed
anything that I should have said? Both agreed I
was accurate and didn’t leave anything out.
Another week passed and I get a second call
from company owner he again asked me to
explain situation only this time he was more
interested in what regional manager specifically
said to me/instructed me to do. I explained
beginning to end, again. He again thanked me
and ended call. I again turned to my employees
present and listening at time of call and they
confirmed, again, that everything was covered
and nothing left out. More time unsure of exact
time passes without hearing anything from
regional manager or company owner. I look
into account and the only note aside from our
previous contact attempts/spouses angry call
that was in customers account was from
company owner stating contact with customer
but no resolution customer wasn’t feeling well
and would return company owners call ‘later’
to discuss. The next thing I know of the
situation was company owner coming to our
office with another extended time gap. He
and our district supervisor asked for a meeting
with me in private. I already knew I was being
let go at this point, but kept my composure
Owner did ALL of the talking and asked once
again for me to describe what happened, to
which his reply was, ‘your story differs from
everyone else, and it’s been said that you were
the one denying customer the ability to enter
office.’ I explained that wasn’t true, but I
understand how it could be placed on me, I
could and should have handled this so much
differently. He then explained that customer
told him that I wasn’t empathetic or
compassionate towards him and his situation. I
explained our previous positive rapport and
comfort level, and told him I was extremely
empathetic/sympathetic towards him because I
had a genuine concern for his well being.
Company owner said ‘well…’ And shrugged it
off, then stated that he’s been told I have been
leaving voicemails asking customers if they
had been ‘abducted?’ I chuckled tried not to
and told him absolutely not asked him to who
told him that or which customer said I did? He
refused to answer my question with no
explanation. I explained that I had left
voicemails asking if a customer had forgotten
about us, etc, but never have I ever asked
someone if they’d been abducted, kidnapped,
or anything of that nature. Company owner just
stared at me for a moment and then said, ‘well,
you’re not someone we want working for our
company.’ Then continued to stare as though
he was expecting me to go into some sort of
rage fit. I simply and calmly asked, ‘are you
saying that I no longer work for company
name?’ He said ‘yes’ as he disappointingly
looked down towards the table. I simply said,
‘okay, it’s going to take me some time to gather
all of my personal belongings.’ He said okay
and meeting ended with me getting up to pack
my things, while he watched so very closely,
but no decency to offer assistance. This took
me 45 mins to an hour because I had furnished
that office with mostly my money and
belongings for the past year of employment at
this particular office. No other contact between
myself and company since termination with the
exception of having to return to the office three
times. Twice to pick up belongings I had
forgotten and called to inform this in advance
and the last time to pick up my final check.
Brief history of my employment with company.
Hired October 2013, promoted to manager
February 2014, demoted September 2014,
transferred back to original office, promoted
June 2015 to last office location. I was valued
enough to promote within the first four months
of employment, this is my first employment in
the financial/lending field and I surpassed co-
workers who’d been employed much longer
than myself. Once I was able to bring ‘my’
office back to positive and growing, I was
demoted with the explanation that it was
because of the amount of my bad debt. I left
that office set to bonus at minimum 900 the
following month In the 7 months I managed
that office two of which we were under staffed
with only myself and one other employee I
was able to ‘un-do’ what the previous manager
had done negative business impact and start
growing our customer base. During this time,
company owner and corporate trainer, visited
my office at minimum once per week very
unusual of them and had ample opportunity to
discuss my shortcomings with the office/staff.
Instead, I randomly/unexplainable get
demoted. But not just demoted, I was also put
on a ‘probationary period’ for 90 days and my
pay decreased to the amount I started with in
October 2013. Side note-my original office
manager and I had become extremely close to
the point we were known as mother/daughter
throughout the company. This was also the
office I was transferred back to after demotion.
Upon arriving/reviewing office ‘numbers’ I
noticed they had significantly decreased after I
left. No, I’m not amplifying myself or the ability
to dramatically change business After
returning to her office I became her assistant
manager without title or pay increase and her
trainer. From October-June of the following
year, I trained most new employees that were
hired. They usually started in her office and
transfer where needed after training She and I
grew even closer, to a point that she had hopes
of her son and I starting a romantic relationship
I was uninterested. She also felt
close/comfortable enough to say to me, ‘I am
usually not the type of person to keep a person
from bettering themselves and accepting a
position for higher income. Especially you, and
what you’ve had to go through. However, this
time, I’m going to be selfish. I want you to
continue working in my office and I will deter
any notions of you being promoted that I can.
You helped me bring this office back to positive
numbers/bonuses and you continue to train my
employees. I’m sorry, but I want you here and
will do whatever I can to keep it this way’ With
my ‘good behavior’ and -continued- dedication
and hard work, my 90 days turned into 45 with
a raise of one 1 dollar. Still 3.50-4.00 less
than my manager salary/bonus Because of
this demotion, I was forced to give up our home
single mother of at the time my 6 yr old
daughter no child support provided I was
promoted once again because previous
manager resigned without notice early one
morning. Company owner came to promote me
personally, I took this opportunity to ask
questions about my previous
management/demotion. I asked him specifically
what I had/had not done correctly to cause my
demotion so I could learn from mistakes made
and make this management position the start
of a long lasting career. He could not formally
answer without stuttering and constantly
stopping to think. His final answer to me was, ‘I
just don’t think the timing was right. You didn’t
have complete support/help from your district
supervisor. He had some personal family
issues going on that kept him from giving you
the tools to succeed.’ Supervisor/wife were
going through a trial separation involving 5
children. All of which I knew while I was
managing. Owner at one point had a personal
meeting with me asking what I needed to aide
me to succeed in that office. I self-diagnosed
the lack of support at that time months before
my demotion I accepted the promotion and
was transferred the next day. After 8 months
and 3 different employees, our office was fully
complete with our 4th ‘new’ employee re-hire
from 3 months of medical leave. The three of
us had a positive personality match that made
The office more comfortable to work in
together. We each new our jobs and did them
very well. Our office was even noted to be
second-place in our monthly ranking for our
district. It was later brought to my attention
that we should have been 1 I wasn’t
concerned with that though. We were all
ecstatic to be acknowledged for all our hard
work That’s when I started receiving ‘bogus’
write-ups. The most ridiculous being written
referral with possibility of termination if
continued this was because upper
management was unable to figure out what I
was doing between 330p-430p on a particular
day, only worked 2 accounts with 8 calls this is
unacceptably low, I admit that. I was
presented with the referral without notice and
was asked to explain my exact movements for
that hour from memory alone. I explained to my
regional Manager, I honestly do not know. I
would have to go look through the system to
find exact details. However, this was my re-
hires first day back and several policies had
changed. I was doing on spot training as per
policy/company owner has explained to do.
After meeting was over and business day
complete I researched the day and time in
question and I was able to account for every
minute of my time. I was told that my
explanation of time was sent to Company
owner however my referral remained on file
and I received no acknowledgment of having
referral removed from file/if my explanation of
time gap was sufficient for company policy. In
that hour, there were also a minimum of 10
phone calls between regional manager and
myself, ranging from 1 min-over 5 mins.
In the company statement to the
unemployment office I was terminated for not
following policy and denying a customer to
enter our establishment. In that statement they
gave several dates that I was supposedly
spoken with or written up by regional manager,
district supervisor, and company owner which
are false and I have proof of the falsification.
One of which they stated that I was spoken to
about my attitude/negatively speaking to
management and customers however, I have
an email from regional manager two days prior,
praising me for the change in how I speak and
present myself to her, thanking me for being
more positive. This was the one and only
positive feedback our office had received from
her even though the company has changed
policy to positive reinforcement and cut out any
and all negative feedback. Instead of pointing
out mistakes, they are to point out positives
and have employees self-diagnose our own
mistakes/negatives.
our-the employers company

I do sincerely apologize for this lengthy detail of
situation, I didn’t want to miss anything
although, there is still much more and I could
go on for hours. But, I won’t. If you’d like more
details, contact me. I’ll be more than happy to
answer any/all questions you may have. Thank
you for your time

Asked on July 7, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, South Carolina

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you could have been terminated for this reason, any reason, or no reason at all. The fact is that a company can set the terms of employment much as it sees fit, and this inlcudes who to fire and when. Therefore, unless you had an employment contract or union agreement prohibiting your employer's action, or it in some way constituted some form of legally actionable discrimination, your dismissal was legal.


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