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Is there a case here? Or Cases? What happened exactly?

#1
I live and worked in Massachusetts for a company for about 4 years as the senior project manager for RI and MA, the company was a small start up and eventually grew into a company with a much larger footprint and presence which later began to face some self imposed growing pains.
I worked for the original company before they became 2 companies, one in RI and one in MA, but they had one central office that I worked in that held under 10 employees plus the three partners that owned the company with one of the partners being my boss from before the company became a partnership and expanded into a second state.

Once we expanded into RI we needed some additional help with the workload so we hired someone I had worked with previously as a project manager, she worked her way to becoming the HR manager after about a year of employment and became by defacto my boss, even though she had no education in HR management and had never held the position otherwise.
At this time the HR manager (we'll call her JN) began having issues with her marriage, also a friend of mine, and she began to drag these issues and frustrations into work almost on a daily basis as people actually began actively avoiding her complaining about her personal life. This of course, for anyone in an office environment knows, lead to someone being that shoulder for her to cry on and that unfortunately was one of the partner, my direct boss, (we'll call him AT). At this time I was also having issues with my marriage and we had decided to opt for a trial separation (Update: We're happily back together).
AT had a habit of routinely asking the employees about their personal lives and he happened to broach the topic with me on this day.
He started casually, as he did, and then jumped and asked about my relationship with JN, I informed him that yes we did have a friendship outside of work but our spouses and myself grew up together and we all just got along great as friends and nothing more. (Now when I say we got along as friends it was definitely a close and strong relationship and to anyone on the outside seeing her marital issues and mine they would have suspected a relationship could have been possible and I addressed it the best I could at that time)

It was then that I asked AT to not ask me about my personal life going forward as I never gave him much information anyway and I did try to keep my personal life at home and work life at work. He agreed to not ask about it and to his credit he never did ask me about it again.
A few months had passed and things started to get a little weird, AT's attitude towards me changed, he began having private meetings with JN about operations I generally handled. He bought her gifts for her office and significant monetary gifts for her birthday in the office and in the open to other employees and thats not to mention that she now didn't share an office with me but had actually taken AT's office as he gifted it to her as well (He never did this for other employees and it did not go unnoticed). AT and JN began spending many late nights together at the office, which put more strain on JN's marriage, JN began to say that she trusted AT more and more and could tell him anything (Obviously, like earlier, we can tell where this had now gone)
A month or so later, after the gifts and office upgrade, I was asked to come into the office with JN and AT and AT informed me we'd both be getting a $2 raise starting the next pay cycle and that we had both been doing a great job with out given tasks.
It was around this time that our contracts had dried up and tension was running high around the entire company, they barely made payroll week to week and projects had stalled due to improper sales tactics that would lead to issues down the road for first our customers and in turn our company so the raise was a little unexpected.
JN and I went out to celebrate a few days later which is when she told me that she had a 'thing' for AT and it had gotten a bit serious, to which I replied with a 'no ****' and an 'everybody knows' and with that JN got really freaked out and said that she didn't realize he had a thing for her until recently. Anyone with eyes could have seen AT making a move on her months before he actually did, it was pretty gross to see.

After our evening out and maybe a week or so later the atmosphere at work was just completely different, it had always been a tense place after the partners split as we had been continuously warned about talking to ex-employees or ex-partners or even ex-contractors and threatened us with lawsuits - they demanded exclusivity from contractors and all. I noticed a lot of the project notes I had written down in our CRM about possible future problems with certain projects had been deleted and with a new employee contract on the way that claimed they could act as our power of attorney as well as place a lawsuit on employees they deemed caused them a financial loss, I began covering my ass by documenting everything; I knew i as on my way out I just wanted to avoid the possibility of a lawsuit that they always carelessly threatened.

About 2 weeks later I was called into JN's office, she wasn't there, with AT and for the first time in awhile he asked how things had been going at home, and with my grandmother who I had been taking care of who had been having health issues and the beginnings of Alzheimers (She since passed suddenly on Oct 20, 2017) this time I answered and said she was doing better since her fall and things looked up for her moving forward. He then jumped back into what my relationship with JN was and I reiterated that it was just a friendship (a now strained friendship but a friendship) and that was it. JN now entered the room as AT leaned back in his chair and asked me if I wanted to continue to work there, I was a little taken aback but I had seen the deleted notes in our CRM and had expected something, I replied that 'Yes, of course I wanted to remain where I was' AT then brought up the projects I had detected earlier in the month with the deleted notes as projects that had been 'neglected' and that I had overlooked errors and I may be held responsible for the damages caused to the company; I protested the accusation. He then said that my personal connection with companies that we no longer did business with was a point of interest for him and that he demanded I cut all ties to anyone from other companies that no longer worked exclusively for him; he still needed things from these companies and it was in my job description to maintain these relationships as I reminded him.
About 1 week later the tension had gotten unbearable at work and at this point I truly wasn't getting any work done, there was talk of my team walking out if I was let go (I put this talk down immediately upon discovery) I finished through the week and left on Friday. I logged into my email on Saturday to retrieve client information to shoot to a sales agent and again I logged in on Sunday to ready my team for Monday morning and my email had been locked. I was fired.

After some direct threats from AT all that week and even this past week, 2 months later, I finally had time to sit back and look at this situation as a whole. After running this story by a few lawyer friends and relatives, each pointing out a different potential suit, I thought it time to ask the internet!
No doubt to anyone reading this that JN and AT are sleeping together now, as told to me by the wife of the other previously unnamed Partner during a venom filled rant towards me at a local coffee shop. I have not heard from JN since my departure from the company despite 2-3 attempts to connect on a personal level. It is my suspicion that AT definitely had an attraction to JN and may have seen me going through my marital issues and her going through hers and thought the two of us may get together. He didn't want that and decided to make a move to muscle me out of the picture and in his mind secure JN for himself. I had no intentions of being with JN as she and I both agree that we can handle each other in small doses but more than 10-12 hours we want to kill each other. (No lie, she's crazy)
I am a knowledgeable employee and loyal to my company as well as having good relationships with hundreds of clients and many companies in the area and to look at this with hindsight I should not need to ave myself nor my wife suffer years of financial setback and a hit to my good reputation so this man could 'get the girl'. Am I wrong?

(My team did end up walking out that Monday, against my wishes, most had jobs lined up already and the one that didn't have anything lined up I hooked him up with a job at a company I had good relationships with)

My previous company has attempted and seemingly succeeded in black balling me in the industry I worked as well as the local community, I definitely consider myself a "Townie", as well as stalking me online including social media to contact any potential job prospects - They have not removed my name or face from their website (After multiple requests from myself) which is causing me problems finding a new job. The local area is aware of this company's shady dealings and even though I have a good relationship with these new prospects they don't want to work with me if my name is still attached to their name.


I will gladly fill in any blanks and answer any questions you may have. I'm sure I left out plenty and glossed over even more, it's really late here and I feel I may not be making much sense in some areas of the telling.

Thank you.
 
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#2
If you told your story to your lawyer friends just as you did here I cannot see how they could have arrived at any conclusion that there is some kind of legal case here against the employer, let alone several. It is not illegal for your boss to date someone else in the company; it is not illegal for the two of them to have a consensual sexual relationship. It is not illegal for your boss to fire you in order to make his relationship with her go more smoothly.

It is illegal under federal law for an employer with at least 15 employees to discriminate against an employee because of the employee’s race, color, national origin, citizenship, religion, sex, age (if the employee is age 40 or older), disability, or genetic test information. It is illegal under Massachusetts law for an employer of any size to discriminate against an employee because of the employee’s race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, ancestry, or disability. Had you been fired for one of those reasons it would be illegal discrimination and a wrongful termination.

But you were not fired simply due to your sex or any of those other listed characteristics. You were fired (at least according to your narrative) because your boss saw you as a threat to his budding relationship with JN. It may be a stupid business decision to do that, but it is not illegal.

You have alleged that the company has “blackballed” you in town but you have not indicated what evidence you have of that nor said exactly how the company has gone about doing that. Lacking any evidence or any details of how that is happening I do not see any potential legal action there. Simply suspecting it might be going on isn’t good enough to get you anywhere.

As for having your info on the company web site, have you actually contacted the company and asked for the company to take it down? If not, why not? If you did, what did the company say? If the company actually refuses to take it down, then perhaps you can see an injunction to force the company to take it down. This is really about the only thing I see so far that gets you close to a legal claim, and there is more needed to make that work that just what you have stated so far.
 
#4
File for unemployment.
Quite the automatic response. But it appears, from having waded through most of this workplace drama and trivia and he said/she said that you do not have any case except possibly, the thing that Taxing mentions above, that they should take your information off their website. However, other than that, unemployment insurance is (if this is a covered employer) your only recourse that I see anywhere in this whole convoluted story.


Quote: "I will gladly fill in any blanks and answer any questions you may have. I'm sure I left out plenty and glossed over even more." Absolutely not necessary in any venue. In fact, moving on is more your recourse here.

I'm pretty sure that any legally knowledgeable person you may have discussed this situation with, especially in this much detail, quickly responded, with glazed over eyes, that you live and work in "at will" states, and that your employer can terminate you at any time, legally, if he wants to. If these legal persons pointed out multiple areas for potential lawsuits, it appears that either you have something you didn't manage to get in your mega post here, or they are misinformed. It appears there was a tremendous amount of drama and baloney going on in your workplace. The employer, who wanted to date the person you were fooling around with, elected to deal with the problem by terminating you. This was discrimination, but not illegal discrimination.

As far as their blackballing you, be very sure it is not that in your location, people know you, and there aren't too many other places to work, and especially if your reputation for being difficult and feuding with your past employer are known, or if you discuss this past situation a lot with other people or during job seeking activities, it got out without the employer having to actually say anything much that you could sue him for. In any case, it would be a drawn out an expensive situation to try to sue for this.
 

cbg

I'm a Northern Girl
#7
Thanks, Red.

Even in the highly unlikely event that your employer would be interested in blackballing you (why would they? Why would they want you on unemployment on their dime? It benefits them to have you in another position as quickly as possible so their unemployment account doesn't get dinged for you) if this happened only two months ago there hasn't been time for them to effectively saturate the market with anti-Fotosolar calls. I don't know why so many people are inclined to believe that their employer has the time (let alone the interest) to contact other employers and tell them not to hire you, in the event that you should come looking for a job; or, for that matter, why the other employers would blindly accept that with no argument or attempt to look into the matter themselves, should you apply to them. Someone calls me and says, "You may be getting a job application for Fotosolar - don't hire him!"; Fotosolar is the FIRST person I call for an interview. I'm not having anyone else tell me who I can and can't hire. There'd have to be a pretty persuasive long-term campaign for that to happen.

And if your claim to blackballing is that you're not getting hired elsewhere, let me explain to you the facts of life; employers do not call for references before they decide who to interview. They just don't. No one calls for references until after they've already completed their interviews and decided who they want to progress with. References cost time and money and they're not going to spend their resources on applicants they're not worried in. If you are CONSISTENTLY being brought in for interviews, getting all the way to the reference-checking stages, and then finally seeing the job go elsewhere, I might believe bad reference (although not blackballing - that's a different kettle of fish altogether) but the job market has not yet reached the stage where I would accept that not finding a new job in two months translates into a blackball.

When you really stop and consider what would go into effectively blocking someone else from finding new employment, quite frankly you'd have to think quite a lot of yourself to imagine that you're really important enough to your former employer for them to bother.