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The trial is over

  1. Dec 19, 2008 #1

    turbo

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    Unfortunately, the outcome was not favorable to me. Employment law is heavily weighted toward employers, and the burden of proof was on me to show that my former boss fired me in retaliation for threatening to file a discrimination claim under the ADA when he slashed my incentive pay by 50% unilaterally. The jury bought his assertion that he was going to fire me anyway, mooting the retaliation charge, leaving me with no grounds for appeal.

    I don't think that the jury was too sharp. When my little two-person division makes the boss $2.5M in 2004-2005 (out-earning all the other 3 divisions combined), it's pretty evident that I've been busting my hump, so my effectiveness at the job should not have been in question. That alone should have told the jurors that the cause of my firing was my intention to file an ADA discrimination claim against him. Apparently they did not get that, despite the best efforts of my lawyers. I cannot fault my lawyers - they did a great job. At least this 3-year ordeal is over, regardless of the poor outcome. My lawyers took my case on a contingent-fee basis, so I don't have any legal bills. It would have been nice to have 3 years of back pay awarded, but I can live without it.

    It's not the end of the world. An administrative law judge for the SSA has ruled that I am fully disabled, and I should start receiving checks soon, plus some back benefits.

    My wife and I have each other, and (seeing economic troubles on the horizon several years ago) we have positioned ourselves well with an easy-to-maintain small house with a nice garden spot. We are far more self-sufficient for food and heat than anybody I know around here. We have never been big spenders, and have saved something from every paycheck, so unless the US falls into hyper-inflation, we'll be fine.
     
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  3. Dec 19, 2008 #2

    Kurdt

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    Sorry to hear that the justice you sought was not dispensed turbo. Like you have already stated, at least you are not completely left out to dry.
     
  4. Dec 19, 2008 #3

    Evo

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    I'm really sorry to hear that turbo. :frown: Usually these things are settled out of court, but I guess he wasn't willing. Two of my friends both got nearly a half million dollars each for just threatening a wrongful dismissal suit. Both companies paid without blinking an eye. But they were both huge corporations.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2008
  5. Dec 19, 2008 #4
    Awful news, Turbo and a bit incredible, what is justice in 2008? Very good that you stay optimistic.
     
  6. Dec 19, 2008 #5

    turbo

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    Thanks, Kurdt. It just didn't work out.

    I tried to settle out of court, but my former boss was determined to take it to trial, and he got lucky. The judge at mediation commended me and my lawyers for our flexibility and willingness to compromise - he was not happy with my former boss and his lawyer.
     
  7. Dec 19, 2008 #6

    turbo

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    It's sad that an employee can be fired for exercising a basic right regarding anti-discrimination. That being the case, the "protected" activities under the ADA are no longer protected, and workers' rights are eroded or eliminated.
     
  8. Dec 20, 2008 #7

    fuzzyfelt

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    I'm sorry to hear the bad news, Turbo, but good that you have anticipated so much in other ways.
     
  9. Dec 20, 2008 #8

    Borek

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    Sad news. I have a feeling that for some people anti discrimination laws are still something fancy.
     
  10. Dec 20, 2008 #9
    I'm really sorry to hear that Turbo, that must have been a really big disappointment. Nothing worse than being in the right and having someone that screwed you over come out on top. But I am glad to hear you are going to be ok otherwise.
     
  11. Dec 20, 2008 #10

    Astronuc

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    My condolensces. Sounds like an uphill battle on your side. In such cases, it's virtually impossible to prove intent without a smoking gun.

    Too many times they are not. Unfortunately in an adversarial process, it seems both sides seek a bias toward their respective sides. AFAIK, scientists and engineers tend to be disqualified from jury service because they tend to be objective and deliberative.
     
  12. Dec 20, 2008 #11

    turbo

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    Thanks, all. It was quite disappointing to lose such an obvious case. The sad part is that someone other than myself (who had not planned, saved, etc) could easily be fired based on a medical disability and not be able to defend themselves. I was lucky in that I had lawyers who believed in my case and took it on a contingent-fee basis. I could never have afforded to pay them and still have any retirement savings left.

    I would like to see employment laws (especially discrimination and unjust-termination laws) modified to make it possible for workers to get some legal assistance without impoverishing themselves. It's hard enough to lose one's job - it's another thing entirely to try to mount a legal challenge against a well-financed business. When I took over that auction division, it was doing perhaps $4m in gross sales/year with minimal profits. A couple years later, we were making over $1M/year on gross sales of $12-15M. Thanks to the incentive pay I earned in those years, I'll be OK. What about a person making a little over minimum wage who gets fired unjustly? They're screwed.
     
  13. Dec 20, 2008 #12
    That's one of the problems with this kind of system, unfortunately. You are supposed to be tried by a jury of your peers, but your peers are smart enough to get out of jury duty, so you are stuck with whoever is left. :(
     
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