Join Date: Oct 2011
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I am so sorry you have had this happen, I wish I could offer you definitive answers regarding how you stand legally, if you were in the UK I could. However, I can try and point you in the direction of some questions you may like to try find the answers for, which hopefully may help you.
First can you tell me if Wisconsin, (I presume this is the State you live in) is an 'at will' employment state? If it is, then an employer from what I understand can pretty much terminate a persons employment for the most trivial reasons.
Your hubby has a contract of employment.
If he does, then I would suggest you dig it out and check out the 'Termination of Employment' section in which it should list the reasons they can let him go. I would be surprised if within that list, 'looking for employment elsewhere' is within it. But I have been surprised before by what I have found written into folks contracts but I hope not to in this case.
How did they find out he was looking for another job?
I have seen cases where an employee was let go by their employer because they were job hunting whilst at work, being paid by them to do the work they were contracted to do. If this is the case, that your hubby was looking for a job whilst at his desk during work hours then it is pretty understandable the employer will be a bit put out. Enough perhaps to fire him, however, if this is the case you may find they will cite, 'poor performance' or 'misconduct', not looking for another job. If they do this, then the burden of proof is on your shoulders to refute this claim. Not an easy task, but if they have given your hubby an appraisal in the last x months and they placed within it a glowing report etc then you could perhaps use this.
However, if he wasn't looking whilst at work but rather they found out some other way, other than he posted his CV online (that kind of makes employers a bit snarky) then there really is no harm, no foul in his looking for work elsewhere. So their hurt feelings are not (legally speaking) a good enough reason, (well not in the UK they aren't).
Also under your states laws is it a requirement that an employer gives an employee verbal/written warnings (in the UK you have to give 3 of each) that they were unhappy with what he was doing? If not, then they have breached state law and you could use this against them.
I would also check out his contract of employment to see if there is any mention of verbal/written warnings being given prior to termination of contract.
Contracts whilst not infallible can often save ones bacon in times such as these..
And what is with the 16 days notice?
Why 16 days?
If they are so determined to get rid of him then the least they could do is offer him 30 days.
And check out their liability for unemployment compensation benefits.
You can probably go online to one of these lawyer sites where you can ask lawyers (for a small fee, I think it starts as low as $20 or the like) and ask where you stand with regards seeking either a withdrawal of termination and or a decent severance package.
In the UK and in the EU it is illegal for an employer to sack/let someone go because they are looking for a better job.
As I do not know Wisconsin/US law I cannot say if this is the case either in your state much less your country but it should be.
I wonder do you guys have something like our Citizens Advice Bureau (where folk can get free advice regarding rights etc.
If so, make use of them.
Last edited by Toby'shuman; 12-05-2012 at 04:14 PM.