Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Help Me Howard: Fired
Do you like your job? Do you think you do a good job? Maybe even a great job? So how would you feel if your boss walked in one day and said, 'Goodbye, you're fired.' Can they do that for what you consider no good reason? It's why one working mother called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- For 6-years, Felicia Darling was a security guard for a Hollywood homeowners association. Loving the job and loving to make people smile.
Felicia Darling: "Their guest arrive at their home and tell them 'Wow that guard at the gate you have, like she's awesome her spirit, she brighten up my day.'"
That's how her job made her feel and now..
Felicia Darling: "Depressed because I always work. I enjoy working."
After 6-years as an employee, in August, Felicia let her boss know she was running late.
Felicia Darling: "I'm going to hustle as fast as I can. I do apologize, I'm sorry, I ran out of gas."
Felicia was 27-minutes late. A few days later, a light fixture was broken in the neighborhood.
Felicia Darling: "There was a big tractor trailer, an eighteen-wheeler truck that came into the community and he knocked the top of the lighting off. I didn't hear a sound and I didn't see him hit it."
When Felicia found out later she wrote a report. That Friday her boss called her when she was on her way home and said to pull over and wait for him.
Felicia Darling: "They said, 'Here is for the 27-minutes that you were late. Here, here you go.' And I'm sorry but were going to have to let you go.'"
Let go. A nice way of saying, 'Felicia, you're fired.'"
Felicia Darling: "They fired me in front of my kids after I left work. After I left work. And at a gas station, they fired me."
Felicia said if she was a disgruntled, incompetent employee, she could see being fired, but she was a good security guard.
Felicia Darling: "Never a problem. Six years, never a problem."
Now she has the problem, fired and out of work.
Felicia Darling: "I don't think it's fair at all because they didn't give me a chance to fix anything."
It may not be fair, but Howard, is it legal to fire a long time employee for something that many people would consider minor.?
Howard Finklestein: "In the state of Florida, workers basically have no rights. Your boss can fire you because they don't like the color of your shirt, the way you walk or the way you blow your nose. The only thing they can't do in South Florida is fire you because of discrimination, in other words things such as race, religion or sexual orientation."
We talked to the management company that ran the association Felicia guarded. They told us there were two sides to the story, but they would not tell us their side.
Howard Finklestein: "There really is no way to protect yourself, other than to work for a good company with a good boss who treats you with dignity and respect. If you don't think your company treats you that way, secretly start looking for a job before they surprise you and fire you."
Felicia Darling: "I love to work because I love people. I love people."
With her firing in the past, Felicia is focused on the future and finding a job.
Felicia Darling: "Submitting applications constantly to lots of places. I'm just trying to submit them all over the place. Everywhere that I can get in because I do need a job."
We hope Felicia finds a job, and soon. While you can be fired for any reason as Howard said, discrimination is not one of them. If you think that's why you are fired, you can file a complaint with the state of Florida or the federal government.
Feel like someone has jobbed you? Need someone to work it out? Employ us.
No one will get fired, but we will try to light a fire under them for you.
CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
EMAIL: email@example.com (Please include your contact phone number when e-mailing)
REPORTER: Patrick Fraser at firstname.lastname@example.org