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Quit due to illegal act performed on the job

by Russell
(Westminster, MD)

I live in Maryland first off. I was laid off from a company and was recieving benefits when a job was offered and I accepted. On the first day of my employment (friday) I was to ride an hour to the job site with a long term employee of the company to replace an old AC system. Not long into the job the coworker begins cutting the refrigerant lines like he does it everyday. This is a federal crime as the refigerant must be recovered because it is known to damage the ozone. Not to mention the customers were home to witness this, whether or not they knew what was happening i do not know, which helped to confirm to me that he was not whatsoever concerned about repercussions. I did not say anything at the time because I was an hour away from home and he was my ride. I took the job understanding that I would be working with other techs on jobs. I spent that evening and the weekend racking my brain about what to do before I called to leave a message stating that this was not the company for me. I would have been more inclined to see if I could work things out with the management if there were more than just a few techs in the company to work with. But I felt I would setting myself up to be ostracized by getting this guy in trouble and I most certainly could not ignore it. I felt the manager had to know what was going on as we were sent to the sit without recovery equiptment. And it was a pick up truck and all the equiptment is visible. I dont want to keep rambling, but

I just want to give a little more of my perspective. I have already had an appeal hearing where I was denied stating that I should have made an effort to work things out and want me to pay back 6,000 dollars. The manager stated in the appeal that he would have taken the established employees work over mine and went on to say that he is a single parent and needed the job. I was denied a review by the board of appeals and have already filed appeal in the circuit court. I have talked to a lawyer (that I can no way near afford) and he stated I have an interesting case. Im not so sure due the the fact that the statutes state that I am to make an effort to keep the unemployment. But I felt that due to the: small company size and requirement to work with these people who knowingly break the law and polute the law and pollute the environment, that it would be almost futile and be subject to mistreatment by the employees. I just want to know if I have any chance at this in the circuit court and if you could please give any advise. Thank you very much in advance.

That's the thing about unemployment and why I always tell people to not quit until you have covered your bases.

In your case .. I would think it wise to first talk to the employer and then if nothing was done .. or you were fired a complaint to OSHA or what ever agency appropriate .. would have been in order. And yes, all this so you would be able to collect unemployment.

Did the lawyer mention "exactly what" he found "interesting"?

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Jul 03, 2010
by: russell

The only thing I can figure its that they broke the law, and that i may have a chance, i guess. Or he just wanted to get paid. He didnt get specific. I get what you are saying though. I probably dont have a case as far as unemployment is concerned. I was just hoping there was some way I could twist this my way a little because I really felt if I stayed there it would be trouble. I did call the EPA. I thought they could handle the situation better than I could. Thanks for responding.

Don't you have a professional license to protect? That might be something to work with, but I still think they would've needed to give you instructions to do something illegal .. instead of just witnessing something illegal.

If you hadn't quit and reported them to the EPA while still employed ... then I might hold some hope.

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