Question: Attorneys for those out of work

This is a discussion on Question: Attorneys for those out of work within the Employment and Labor Law Questions forums, part of the Legal Questions & Answers Forum category; I have two questions: 1) Can anyone tell me the best way for me to learn the ins and outs of Worker's Compensation Discrimination law if I can't get an ...

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  1. #1
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    Question: Attorneys for those out of work

    I have two questions:

    1) Can anyone tell me the best way for me to learn the ins and outs of Worker's Compensation Discrimination law if I can't get an attorney. (I have a case that was decided in my favor, but don't know what to do next).

    2) In New York, is there a way to gets one's job back if one was "dismissed" for illegal reasons? (The specifics of my situation are documented below)...
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I have a hearing problem that seems to have gotten progressively worse of the last couple of years. I was working toward getting something done about this when in July 2009 I injured my back at work. When my bills were mounting up and my employer was refusing to let me back to work, I filed a Worker's Compensation claim against my employer's wishes.

    My employer refused to cooperate with the Worker's Compensation Board by refusing to give me their insurance carrier information and my employer also refused to release my employment information to the financial aid department of the hospital where I had back surgery. After this info was found the WCB case disputed, but I won it in March of last year. (I also complained to the union). I was finally allowed to come back to work, but at a lower pay and hours. This kept dropping further, and despite my complaints my employer intentionally let me gun license lapse, and subsequently refused to give me unarmed work days to make up for the days I could not work as an armed guard. I was lucky to get my permit back from the NYPD after only a month, as opposed to the normal 6 to 8 months thanks to the gun custodian who explained the situation to 1 Police Plaza. I was still subsequently dropped down to working for lower pay as an unarmed guard when my employer promoted one of my co-workers to armed status.

    I tried my best to save enough money to get back to dealing with my hearing problem before it became an issue with my job and I had managed to save about $1000 from October 2009 to December 2010, and figured that the holiday tips would help me do this. But a week before Christmas my employer transferred me out of the site I was posted without explanation and told to report to the office for a new site. I did and when I inquired as to the reason for my removal from the site I was not given a clear answer. I was told to call the office back a few times over the next several weeks until I was finally told that I would be called.

    (A family member stepped in an bought me hearing aids, which I'm still working with).

    In late February I went to the union building and put in another complaint. I was asked by the union rep if I had been fired and I responded no, and that I still had my gun and gun license, both of which would have to be turned in when an employee leaves employment. Two business days later I received a message on my answering machine to come to the office to turn in my firearm.

    So on March 2nd (my 10 year anniversary with the company), I arrived to turn in my firearm. I asked the gun custodian why I had to turn in the firearm. He told me that it was just for safe-keeping since I was not working on an armed site. I explain to the gun custodian that no one was talking to me about returning to work, so he had me meet with on of the branch managers who gave me a site to go to for an "interview" the next day. When I arrived I was told by the site supervisor that he didn't know I was to show up and that I needed a special background check to work there anyway. None of my subsequent calls to the office were returned, so I filed a Worker's Compensation Discrimination complaint. My employer ignored this and refused to be present at the two hearings. Now, the Worker's Compensation Discrimination case was just decided in my favor. Damages are supposed to be submitted on Sept. 22nd, but I don't have money for an attorney and therefore really don't know how this is supposed to go or what I'm supposed to do.

    But the problem is that potential employers tend to give the benefit of the doubt to a previous employer's decision to refuse work to an employee. (Even if said employee was not officially layed-off or terminated). The standard application questions inquiring about unemployed status and "reason for leaving", as well as the requirement to provide previous employment references(contact numbers) seemed to be the reason I am having a difficult time finding employment as an armed security guard, which is all I've done since 1988.

    So, for the second time in two years I'm fighting not to become homeless and it looks like I'll lose my gun license anyway if I don't get work, because it has come time for the re-certifcation.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.

    Staten.islander


  2. #2
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    1. Regarding learning about Worker's Compensation - You can find a lot of information just by searching google. You can also look into similar cases in New York and read the legal opinions.


    2. I am a little confused by your other issues. How do future employers know how or why you were denied a job somewhere else, or where you even applied. Also you may find this link helpful - What Employers Can Say About You - What Employers Can Say About Former Employees.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Legal Help View Post
    1. Regarding learning about Worker's Compensation - You can find a lot of information just by searching google. You can also look into similar cases in New York and read the legal opinions.
    Google hasn't been of much help. Basically I need to find out what is meant by damages and what period this covers. My lowered pay and hours starting when my employer finally let me back to work, which covers a 14 month period of progressively declining pay until they determined I would not quit and therefore refused me any work assignments at all? The period beginning with their total refusal to give me any work? Or a combination of both? (They will have to make up some lies. Because I doubt they will admit that the reason is retaliation for my previous Worker's Compensation claim. I just don't know what the lies will be).


    2. I am a little confused by your other issues. How do future employers know how or why you were denied a job somewhere else, or where you even applied.
    ??? Job applications typically have questions you have to answer in regard to the reason you left your previous employment. On my last interview last week I was actually asked 3 or 4 times by the recruiter why my previous employer would not give me work assignments. I had no answer, because my employer never gave me a reason, so that is all I could tell her. (I was never fired or laid off. I was just refused work).

    It wouldn't be a good idea to make up a lie. Especially since you have to list your last employer on an application and background checks are the norm in the security industry.

    Security company's may compete with each other, but it is in their best interest to share information on who left on bad terms because they will need that information in return.

    Who knows what my previous employer is saying. After the laundry list of unfair treatment of me over the last couple of years I wouldn't put anything past them. And even if they say nothing, a potential employer would not hire someone who had to leave a previous company because they were refused work, because they assume there would have to be a legitimate reason for it.

    Staten.islander
    Last edited by Staten.islander; 09-14-2011 at 03:28 AM.

  4. #4
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    Have you tried filing for unemployment? Also you may be able to say that they had no more work to give you during an interview, because in a way that is correct.

    As far as damages, you need to consult with a local attorney in your area as case law differs regarding damages from state to state.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Legal Help View Post
    Have you tried filing for unemployment? Also you may be able to say that they had no more work to give you during an interview, because in a way that is correct.

    I've been on unemployment. It doesn't cover my bills, which is why I'm close to being homeless. And I think think unemployment ends in a couple of weeks anyway.

    And "no more work" would not be true in light of how big this company is, and the fact that they have hired and are still hiring security guards. The one thing I've noticed is that other potential employers are intimately familiar with my previous employer. During my last interview the recruiter even told me that my previous employer does have that many armed security officers.

    As far as damages, you need to consult with a local attorney in your area as case law differs regarding damages from state to state.
    Yeah, that is the way it looks. I've yet to get responses back to the last couple of firms I've spoke and e-mailed specifics to over the last couple of days.

    Thanks.

    Staten.islander

  6. #6
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    One more thing that you can keep in mind is that there are employment lawyers who are available to help with these kinds of issues. Here is a small directory that specifically includes thousands of employment lawyers in each of the 50 states around the country.
    Legal Disclaimer: Answers to questions on this forum are for informational and educational purposes only and do not constitute Legal Advice. No attorney-client relationship is established through this forum.


 

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