How do you respond to alleged misconduct and poor performance, when this is the first time you are hearing of both? A meeting was held where I was blindsided by the above allegations of which I denied (quite shocked) and provided ample evidence of my stellar client feedback/performance record. Additionally, because I my alleged lack of performing they want to demote me and reduce my salary by $10,000. All of this was summarized in an email sent later that evening for which I am to respond by tomorrow on the status of my employment with the firm. I have not acknowledge the email yet.
The larger backstory is this is my friends firm that I have worked for 1.5 years. Recently her own personal issues are impacting business, she called me during work hours and after I requested repeatedly that I did not want to discuss her personal issues/be involved and just wanted to be her employee (i.e. do my job), the call ended abruptly and our relationship has been sour since. She basically no longer wants me around (as I've seen her do this to other employees) and is finding the easiest/cheapest way to get me to leave and where I can't come back at them for anything by trying to get me to accept the demotion - thereby admitting to their alleged claims. I have no formal warnings regarding my performance, or action plan for improvement and no official/formal documentation surrounding this alleged misconduct (they're alleging it occurred twice, months ago and that they claim was addressed in conversation).
I believe they're only offering the demotion in order to 1) get me to accept the allegations and 2) keep me on long enough to train up my replacement for one of their biggest client revenue streams.
What is the proper response to false allegations from an Employer, especially one that is in the HR industry?
1 Answer from Attorneys
An appropriate response on your part for this situation most likely depends upon whether you
are working under the terms of an enforceable contract of employment which could provide a
remedy for the employer's conduct which you've described.
However, if there is no such contract that you could avail yourself of, then, Virginia, being a so-called
employment at will state where an employee can basically be fired for any reason or
no reason at all, your option is to accept the demotion or be terminated.(with the possiblility
of qualifying for unemployment compensation if the employer cannot prove that you were
justifiably terminated "for cause").
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