FIRED FOR TELLING A JOKE

by joe
(saint louis, MO)

Been with the company 2 1/2 years and was fired for saying something i thought was a joke. I think i should mention the person that fired me really disliked me, and layed me off before for 2 weeks for just disliking me.


While at work i was speaking with two other guys that i knew well and worked with for the 2 1/2 year period, I received my check noticing that money had been taken out by the company. I started speaking with one of the guys and my exact words were 'Tom did you see that thing on the news about the ABB shooting' he says yes then i say 'I think were about to have a similar situation i just found out money was taken out of my last check' then tom says 'that's not something to joke about'. I knew tom and the other gentlemen knew it was a joke as we were laughing.


Well when the person that layed me off before for two weeks caught wind of what i said, he instantly called me at home and told me i was fired and that the company was filing assault charges. I never signed anything or talked about it with anyone before i was fired.

The police filed the charges and they were knocked down to a disturbing the peace charge by the prosecutor.

I was only working 15 hours or less at the time and was about to file for unemployment since i made so little money, but now i don't know if it is possible for me to collect.


Answer:

Hi,

Well Joe, I don't hold out much hope for you because it sounds like you plead guilty to a disturbing the peace charge which resulted from this incident at work .. and for which you were fired.

Missouri is an attorney state and if you do file for unemployment .. I would advise you to get an attorney just for the unemployment hearing which will very likely be what you will need to appeal for after they initially
deny your benefits .. in my opinion.

If you had asked me this question right after you had been fired .. I would have advised the same thing .. contact a criminal lawyer to deal with the "assault charge" .. just to stand a better chance of getting UI benefits.

Misconduct does not need to be illegal for an employer to fire you .. it just needs to be something that anyone would know has the potential to be fired for.

Apparently, one of those guys you knew well or someone along their grapevine .. didn't really think your joke was funny and thought it seriously threatening enough to tell your boss who doesn't like you.

Joe, it was perceived as a threat whether intended as such by you or not.

Most people know to bite their tongue when something stupid and insensitive with potential for misinterpretation is fighting to get out .. especially in a workplace.

Heck, I used to reread emails two or three times and edit as needed before I hit the send button, just because I didn't want anything that could be misinterpreted coming back to bite me.

I even do this with some of the questions I answer here. I did it with yours.

My first answer to you had to be revised because it glowed with the cynicism I work hard to keep at bay, but how would a quick and brutal answer benefit anyone .. including you? If you want one of those .. ask yahoo.

I would go back and examine how your boss came to find out .. I'd be curious to know if it was one of those two guys who actually told the boss or if the boss found out and based their decision to fire you on hearsay.

I would suspect, since it sounds like you did take the knocked down charge, that you were informed someone was willing to testify that they heard you make the joke directly? They didn't think it was a joke .. but a threat? Or you have made threats before?

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Jan 19, 2010
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Thanks for the help
by: Anonymous

It was knocked down because i have a perfect record almost.
I found out one of the guys did tell him, and after he did he said he wished he wouldnt have after this happened.

As to what i said, i agree i was not thinking when i said it. Even though i knew it was harmless between the three of us, i didnt think about what others would think when they herd it.

I believe i knew the guy who fired me well enough to know he didnt feel threatened. But when the oppurtinity presented itself to let me go without unemployement he took it. It also helps i was making a good bit more money then others from raises i had gotten for being one of their best employes.

The only reason i started working againg after the first two week layoff was becuase i told them to fire me so i could collect unemployment or put me on the schauled because i was not going to quit.

I really do thank you for your help. I do not think i will even try to collect unemployemnt, being its such a slim chance.



Whoa down there.

Please don't let my distant opinion stop you from trying. If you have witnesses or can get statements from those guys .. go for it.

What's the worst that happen if you try .. you'll be denied.

I didn't mean to take the fight out of you .. just to let you know it would probably turn into a fight to get benefits and to suggest that you might fare much better with the help of an attorney for a hearing.

Try timslaw.com he's a MO attorney with a good website.

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