What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? DC
Until recently, I was employed at the DC government job for 3 years as a help desk analyst (desktop support technician). During this time, I have never had any issues brought up with my conduct, work habits, tardiness, and attitude.
2 weeks ago, a co-worker told me to call a customer that tried to contact me about an issue installing some software on one of the company trucks. I explained to my co-worker (who had recently got promoted as the Help Desk Coordinator) that i had already sent the customer an email a week ago from home when i was out telling them that they needed to place a work order with the Help Desk because I was not at work, and that I had no idea how to install the software they were asking for, and to contact the Help Desk Supervisor (who is the boss of the Coordinator) for assistance since he would be better suited to point them in the right direction as far as getting the software installed. When I told him this, he told me to forward him the email, he read it, and told me again to contact them. I would not agree to this, since I had already contacted the customer from home when I was out, and told them to speak to my superior. He then asked me if I wasn't going to do "my job", and I told him if that's what you want to call it, I wouldn't be contacting them again. He then told me out loud in front of the Help Desk that he was recommending to the supervisor that I be sent home, and that he was waiting for an email to see what he would say. I then told him that since he wanted me sent home, I would not wait around for a decision and I packed my things up to leave. While exiting, in my frustration I cursed him...more so to myself, but it was loud enough that others in the office heard. When I left, the Team Lead called me and asked what had happened. I then told her, and said that I was willing to come back if she wanted me back, but I would need to cool off for a hour. She agreed with this, and I came back to work. Later that day, I tried to apologize to my co-worker for cursing him in front of our help desk, but he would not speak to me. So before I left, I just apologized anyway to him in front of our co-workers and left for home.
The next day, The Help Desk Supervisor had a meeting with me, the Team Lead, and the Help Desk Coordinator. He explained to me that the issue might have been avoided if the exact role of the Help Desk Coordinator's position was explained to me. He informed me that the Coordinator was my superior, and that anything work related task he wanted me to do I had comply with. He also said the cursing was unacceptable and if it should happen again, that he would act accordingly. He asked me had I apologized to the Coordinator, and I told him that I had already done so. I also said that since I now understood the role the Coordinator had, that there would be no issues, and that I only wanted to do my work. The Supervisor asked if I had any grievances with the Coordinator and I said of course not...to me the issue was done with.
So after the meeting, the Coordinator stopped speaking to me and the team lead (the Coordinator and I had a good working relationship, before the incident there was always camaraderie and joking between us); her because he felt she undermined his authority when she called me on the phone to see what had happened and to see if I would come back to work. This went on for about 2 weeks--the only times he spoke to me was regarding work he wanted me to do, which was maybe 2-3 times, which I complied with and did. No other incidents occurred during this period.
At the end of the 2 week period, I received a call from the Coordinator telling me to meet him in a conference room. This was totally unexpected. I arrived there, and he told me that he was waiting for the Supervisor to arrive. I assumed that the Supervisor was coming there to get us to start speaking again, since we went from having a good relationship to not speaking, except for work assignments. The Supervisor arrived, sat down, and the Coordinator spoke. He said that he had noticed my bad attitude over the course of the past couple of days and that I was being fired...to go to my desk and get my things and to turn in my work ID. This came as total shock to me, since it was obvious that I was being fired because of his personal feelings towards me, and not based on any attitude that I had, work ethics, or problems with the quality or quantity of work. I complied with what he said, and left the building.
I was subcontracted to this company as a 1099 contractor (DC Government paid Company 1, who paid Company 2, who paid me), and I was told I don't have any rights as far as them firing me. But I know there are rules in classifying people as employees and independent contractors. And in this case, it seems to me that maybe since I had a set 9-to-5 schedule and could not set my own hours, or work for other businesses, used training they gave me to handle requests, did all work on their premises using their computers and computer related equipment to complete work assignments, and received these assignments from superiors that I could technically be classified as an employee and may be able to fight this somehow?
I really apologize for writing so much here. This thing has been bothering me so much--especially in this economy, to lose a job, how I support myself, over someone's personal grievance, and not my work, it just isn't sitting well.
I thank you for listening.