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paulfielding (Automotive) (OP)
29 Sep 05 9:14
Here's one for you...

I have been unemployed for 6 months because I got sacked from my last position. English law being a bit backward states that a company can sack you if they have "reasonable doubt". Basically, that means that you are guilty until proven innocent.

Would you employ someone that had been given the sack for stealing? I wouldn't, but then again, I didn't actually steal anything. Legally, there is nothing that I can do.

Any suggestions?

Paul.
Slugger926 (Bioengineer)
29 Sep 05 9:32
Here in the states you can't get fired until you are guilty in the court of law, but you are still punished $$$ because you have to hire the lawyer to protect you.  So you are still sorta guilty until proven innocent even though that is illeagal.
Beggar (Mechanical)
29 Sep 05 9:40
To be blunt, I probably wouldn't even consider you. Unless, that is, I was having a tough time finding the right guy and you experience was a direct match.

I would say that networking is your best shot. I offered to hire an ex-con to work for me because I knew him personally and knew that he'd reformed his ways.

In your case, I'd probably avoid the subject as much as possible. When asked why you left, say something like "personal dispute." That's still not great but is better than "sacked for being a crook... but I'm innocent."

I feel for you; you're in a tough place.

--------------------
Bring back the HP-15
www.hp15c.org
--------------------

Helpful Member!  RDK (Civil/Environmental)
29 Sep 05 9:52
Canadian law allows the firing of someone based on the preponderance of evidence. It is not guilt beyond a reasonable doubt as in a court of law but a much lower standard of proof.

I would not hire you either unless I actually knew you. Therefore network like crazy and get a position with someone based on their personal knowledge of you and not the employee/employer relationship of your previous position.

Why not try flying solo for a while? Are your skills such that they can be sold on the open market? Perhaps as a sub consultant? That way the employer would get to know you with little risk.

Good luck

Rick Kitson MBA P.Eng

Construction Project Management
From conception to completion
www.kitsonengineering.com

ewh (Aerospace)
29 Sep 05 10:18
You could try finding a contract position.  Job shops tend to be somewhat lenient as far as background, especially if you have not been formally charged or convicted.  This would get you back to work, and you won't have to worry so much about it when you apply for that next permanent position.
dogleg43 (Electrical)
29 Sep 05 17:02
I live in Indiana and it's called "employment at will" and there does not need to be a reason specified to let someone go (fired).

But more to the point, if someone calls a company and asks about an ex-employee, they rarely will give anything other than confirmation of previous employment.  There have been too many lawsuits about smearing someone's name without justification.  

Can you just not list this previous employer on your resume, or does too big of a hole appear in your job history?

Good luck.
14159 (Structural)
29 Sep 05 20:52
Geez. I don't know what yawl are talking about. Everywhere I've worked, one can be fired for any reason, which is the way I think it should be. A company is OWNED by the OWNER. It's their company and they should be able to do with it what they will. Otherwise, why own a company? It's there to make the OWNER money, not to provide employment.

14159

RDK (Civil/Environmental)
30 Sep 05 10:11
Sorry 14159 buy there has to be some sort of social justice in the world.

Is it right to fire someone for no reason after many years of dedicated service?

Would having a health issue that meant the person would use accumulated sick leave credits justify firing?

There is an inherent unbalance of power in the work place and the employer has to have some limits on that power for long term workers.

People take ownership of their jobs and there is some social benefit to having a measure of equality between an employer and an employee in the work place.

Where I live a person can be fired with no reason or notice in the first 6 months, from 6 to 12 months two weeks notice is required and after that the employee can only be fired for cause.

Generally firing for cause means that there has to be some sort of progressive discipline in place and that this progressive discipline has to be consistently applied across the work place. You cannot fire a long term worker the first time they are late but if you have warned them, perhaps suspended them without pay then you can fire them.

The only grounds for immediate dismissal are theft, intoxication in the work place, violence in the workplace or a serious and willful safety violation that put people at immediate danger for life or serious injury. Even these grounds can be lost to an employer if they have not been fairly enforced and applied in the past. That means that letting someone get away with theft may impair your ability to fire the next thief immediately on one occurrence.

To me these appear to be a reasonable balance in the workplace.

To go back to the original problem, why not have someone phone the former employer asking for a reference about the employee and just see what information the former employer is giving out? They may after a passage of time come to the conclusion that the OP was not the thief they thought, perhaps the same pattern of theft is still occurring, or simply developed some compassion and will not besmirch the former employee’s reputation.

I once stumbled across a HR firm’s web site that was offering this service; they would contact former employers and dig hard to get the information on a former employee. That way the former employee knew what was being said about him and could prepare for this information being released.

All that there is to lose is one phone call.


Rick Kitson MBA P.Eng

Construction Project Management
From conception to completion
www.kitsonengineering.com

wes616 (Aerospace)
30 Sep 05 12:26

Quote:

I once stumbled across a HR firm’s web site that was offering this service; they would contact former employers and dig hard to get the information on a former employee. That way the former employee knew what was being said about him and could prepare for this information being released.

All that there is to lose is one phone call.

These are great services... Saved my a$$ a few times, from former employers.

Also, I have heard that it (at least in California) is illegal for a former employer to say anything negative against you. They can say good things, or they can just say how long you were employed for and give the circumstance of your departure (fired, laid off, quit) but can not elaborate on it.

Also, if you are talking about a reference, sometimes it is acceptable to have a former co-worker be a reference from your "latest" job; as long as you have at least 1 "employer" (boss) from a previous job on your list... (but this usually works better when you are still at your current job...)

Wes C.
------------------------------
There are no engineers in the hottest parts of hell, because the existence of a 'hottest part' implies a temperature difference, and any marginally competent engineer would immediately use this to run a heat engine and make some other part of hell comfortably cool.  This is obviously impossible.

Beggar (Mechanical)
30 Sep 05 12:34
It's not that they're legally proscribed from making negative statements. It's rather that they face liability for making a statement that may be difficult to prove if sued and they see no benefit to saying anything beyond, "Yes, he worked here as an engineer from {date} to {date}" They may or may not even say whether you were fired.

--------------------
Bring back the HP-15
www.hp15c.org
--------------------

Slugger926 (Bioengineer)
30 Sep 05 16:30
Past employers can't even say good things about you these days because if you screw up on the new job, the new employer can sue the past employer for giving you a good review beyond yes you worked here from X date to y date.

RDK (Civil/Environmental)
2 Oct 05 10:57
That’s why I consider reference checks to be mostly a waste of time.

The only question I want answered other than a confirmation of the dates and duties is “Would you hire this person again for a similar position?”  (Yes I have had people lie about working for a company.)

The length of the pause tells me more than the answer.

Rick Kitson MBA P.Eng

Construction Project Management
From conception to completion
www.kitsonengineering.com

14159 (Structural)
3 Oct 05 18:13
RKD typed: "Sorry 14159 buy there has to be some sort of social justice in the world. ...."

Thank you for your well thought-out reply, but I have to disagree. I worked for other people for about 10 years before going back to school and starting my own company at the same time, going quite well, BTW. I look at the situation from a completely different perspective now than when I was an employee.

It's a sovereignty issue. Is my new company mine or not? It is mine, period. It's there to make money for me and family. Employees (previously including myself) are commonly confused about this. Companies do not exist to employ people. Employees exist to make the company able to make money for the owner(s). It's a harsh reality, that obviously predates both of us. It took me a long time to realize this, and when I did, I took action to get on the other side of that relationship.

About the example of firing a good employee for no reason: That employee could leave a perfectly good company with no notice, for no reason, with no legal repercussions. For some companies, such an event could close down the operation, or at least make life extremely difficult. Why shouldn't there be a law that states that an employee can't "fire the company" for no reason? It's called freedom and should go both ways.

Also, what's up with this "social justice" junk? I live in the USA where we actually have something of a free market left. It's not the government's job to make policies that shift power back and forth between employers and employees (in other words, buying votes), although they unfortunately do that from time to time.

14159
Beggar (Mechanical)
4 Oct 05 18:00
"Is the company mine or not?" I don't know? Is it incorporated, with all the benefits thereby provided? If "yes," then no, it's not.

--------------------
Bring back the HP-15
www.hp15c.org
--------------------

14159 (Structural)
5 Oct 05 0:45
Beggar:

I don't have the slightest idea what you're talking about. Can you elaborate?

BTW, HP forever!!! Not sure about the 15, though... My 48g does FFT! How's that for cool?

14159
davidinindy (Industrial)
5 Oct 05 11:19
This post has gotten a little off topic, but to bring it back, I'll post my opinion.
Unless they have proof, I doubt they'll give a reason for for your leaving. They may say you were fired though.
I'd do this.
Have a friend call and play the part of an HR person. Have them ask them basic questions.
Confirm dates of employment.
Maybe confirm salary history.
Reason for leaving.

I did this after hearing a past employer was giving a different reason for me leaving than I was told.
Brought some issues to light, and I called them and just mentioned slander, and that my wife works for a law firm, and that they better get their story straight.
I've had another person call since, and they only released employment dates, said they didin't have my salary information readily accessible, and that I left because of "company restructuring"... He said it sounded like they had it pretty well rehearsed. Much better.

David

epoisses (Chemical)
5 Oct 05 12:19
14159,
I'm afraid I don't agree either. You can't just do whatever you want even if you own a company. Contracts and transactions are subject to certain laws. If you buy a car and it breaks down the first day, the government has put a law in place that gives you the right to go back to your car dealer and claim your guarantee. Such a law is not a lack of freedom, it is considered a good thing (by most people except some car dealers I guess). An employment contract is also subject to certain constraints, which are considered a good thing by most people as well. That's because the balance of power is just not 50/50. If I lose my job, I lose 100% of my income and we (my family and I) have an immediate and major problem. If I leave my company, my direct co-workers have a bit more work to do until they find someone to replace me. No way the company loses 100% of its income.
If you want to see the blessings of a true free employment market, take a look at the Indians and Chinese construction workers in Dubai. Saw a documentary on tv, it's straight back to the middle ages, and they can't even go back home (if they had the money) because the building company takes their passports as soon as they arrive. Thank you very much free market!
RDK (Civil/Environmental)
5 Oct 05 14:12
If you really want a free labour market then open your borders to Mexican and Chinese and other third world immigrants.

After all if it is you company why you should not be able to hire anyone you want to do the work at any wage that you want to pay that they are willing to accept.

While you are at it, do away with any and all benefits, workplace health and safety rules etc.

Same for any licensing and product safety standards, after all if someone is willing to buy a toy that will kill their child because small parts fall off then they get what they deserve because they saved a few dollars.

Can you say total anarchy?

Like it or not there are certain social contracts and other laws and regulatory processes in place the protect people from excesses of power in the work  and market place.

Rick Kitson MBA P.Eng

Construction Project Management
From conception to completion
www.kitsonengineering.com

paulfielding (Automotive) (OP)
6 Oct 05 9:01
Thanks for your input.

I am still out of work, I am looking at permy & contract jobs. I have thought about going solo, but I think it's a bit too much of a big step for me at the moment. I am even applying for positions abroad (India & Germany) which pay REALLY well, but I still have to get past that original barrier.
bioengr82 (Bioengineer)
7 Oct 05 15:02
14159-

I'm afraid I also must disagree.  A system in which workers have no rights was tried and was not pretty.  The reason you can not fire employees with no cause is the same reason you can not intimidate competetors, fix prices, trade with inside knowledge, etc.  It is UNETHICAL .  I agree, a company exists to make money, but in an equitable, lawful, and ethical mannor.  Free market does not equal free-for-all.   
14159 (Structural)
9 Oct 05 21:11
Whatever you say guys. It's obvious that you naturally (I've been there...) look at this 100% from an employee's perspective. If you become an owner, you'll see these issues completely differently. I know because I was an employee for years, ending about 10 months ago. I look back at my old one-sided, viewpoint and am embarrassed.

14159
epoisses (Chemical)
10 Oct 05 3:38
Not one-sided at all, from a 100% employee's perspective we would not allow you to fire people at all. You can fire people if you have to, can't you? What's the problem?
Heckler (Mechanical)
11 Oct 05 19:15
14159,

Quote:

About the example of firing a good employee for no reason: That employee could leave a perfectly good company with no notice, for no reason, with no legal repercussions. For some companies, such an event could close down the operation, or at least make life extremely difficult. Why shouldn't there be a law that states that an employee can't "fire the company" for no reason? It's called freedom and should go both ways.

I worked for a small company that had your mentality on business and they struggled after I left.  But they didn't do anything to keep me....no raises and cut medical....but I was still putting in 15 hour days, showing up on Saturdays when needed, taking work home and being productive.  It boils down to being a two way street the employer must meet certain obligation if he expects to employ and retain good engineers and the employee has to honest and forthcoming in offering their services to said company.

I would hope that no company would be short sighted enough to leverage their entire technical base on one engineer so much that if that person left, died, or got snatched by aliens would affect operations.  

I worked in the bay area during the Dot COM boom and bust.  I can tell you first hand empoyers had a tough time hiring and retaining engineers.  They would offer outrageous hiring bonuses to entice engineers to sign onto their company.....
Beggar (Mechanical)
12 Oct 05 9:56
14159:

FWIW, if you look at Rick Kitson's website you'll see that he is a business owner. In my case, my company's stock is held by many different people. I have a CEO above me and several people who report to me; I'm not the owner but do have primary managerial responsibility.

In return for the benefits of incorporation and the privilege of doing business, you do have a certain social responsibility. I think the gov't is perfectly justified in establishing work rules by which you must abide.

--------------------
Bring back the HP-15
www.hp15c.org
--------------------

dporte17 (Automotive)
12 Oct 05 12:25
Paul:

Along the lines of some of the comments here, you should recognize that there are some legal avenues open in the extreme cases.

You may not have any legal options because they do not have to prove anything to fire you, but if they slander you in a reference to another employer that is a different matter.  You can then sue them in civil court, and the basis of determination in civil court is "the balance of probabilities".  You wouldn't even have to prove that they slandered you, only that it was more probable than not that they did.  That could be an independent witness (like the above mentioned HR firm) calling them and getting negative information.  

I don't promote using the courts as an option, actually I think that is done too often, but remember that you have options.  Someone believing you did something when you didn't shouldn't have a profound effect on your life.  It may, but there are options available to you.

Dave
Slugger926 (Bioengineer)
12 Oct 05 15:45
I just skimmed through this thread and noticed everyone jumping on 14159 about his comments that a person could be let go for no reason.

In a "Right to Work State" such as Oklahoma, this is true.  The employer can fire the employee immediately with no notice or reason.  The employee can also walk out immediately the same way.  This is only true if there are no contracts in place.  This may also not be true if for the employer firing employees if the company has goveronment contracts requiring affirmative action quotas.

We got to remember on this board that not all states or countries have the same laws.

Also in a small state such as Oklahoma, if the employer mis-treats employees by firing without cause and notice, it would be hard for the employer to hire employees in the future.  It is a small world.
Heckler (Mechanical)
12 Oct 05 16:42
Slugger,

I think you might have missed something just skimming.  The legal aspects are black and white with regards to "right to work" but in reality it goes further than what's apparent.  For example, if a company had a habit hiring & firing engineers thus creating a high turnover…..do you think their reputation would be good or bad within the engineering community?  I tell you that bad press would get talked about within the local engineering community.  The same way if a company put a lot of effort into hired an engineer who shows up for three days and walks out.  That engineer would be marked and it would affect them sometime down the road.  The element that’s being left out of the “right to work” is an engineer networks within a community.

Not all companies follow the letter of the laws.  Actually, most small companies don't have the resources to keep up with the changing employment laws.  I worked at a company that refused me FMLA when my child was born.....I left three months later.  They basically told me without actually telling me that they didn't care what was going on in my life as long as I was at work for 9 hours.  That mentality came down from the top because it was the president that told me.

Here is a quote from another forum that fits what I'm trying to say

Quote (TygerDawg):

My sister with her Ph.D. in Psychology has always advised me that the person at the top of the organization will imprint his/her personality on the organization.  If they're nice honest demanding people, then the org will be on a fairly even keel.  If they're a whacko psycho backstabbing evil SOB, then the whole place will be neurotic and dysfunctional.

lewtam (Mechanical)
13 Oct 05 2:49
This side-bar really does merit its own thread, I'll get back to the OP:

Paul, get out there mate.  Take any job that is remotely linked to your chosen field, you must know someone who needs even some contract admin help.

As to whether I would hire you, if you had the right quals and experience, there's no way I could find out why you left your last position unless I heard through the grapevine.  That means you may have to go further afield to avoid this.  As discussed above, your previous employer is not able to slander.  The one thing that would worry me however is a 6 month plus hole in your resume.

'Why did you leave you're last job?' - phrase an answer you are comfortable with and practise it until you can say it in your sleep.  Any 'umm..err..personal differences' will make it appear like their was some sort of culpability on your part.

It's never too late, but the longer you leave it the worse it gets.  Don't delay any longer.  Take anything.  I'd much rather an applicant that said 'hey, I had a hard time finding a job so I shovelled sh*t at a feedlot to pay the bills'.  It shows a willingness to work that I respect.

LewTam Inc.
Petrophysicist, Head Stockman, Gun Welder, Gun Shearer, Ski Instructor, Drama Coach.

paulfielding (Automotive) (OP)
13 Oct 05 9:01
Thanks for all of your advice.
I have now applied for over 200 jobs. Out of that, I have had just 2 interviews. The feedback that I am getting from recruitment agencies is that I am a "Jack of all trades, master of none". However, I like to see myself as a Master of all Trades. I've just got to be give the opportunity to prove it.

I'm still hopeful that I will get a job soon. I have to. I've got too much to lose. I am applying for jobs ALL over the UK. I have even applied for positions in India!!! If I am offer a job, I'll take it.

Paul.
epoisses (Chemical)
13 Oct 05 11:29
If you're a jack of all trades, I guess your best bet would be a small company.
cal22 (Chemical)
17 Oct 05 9:18

Quote:

You may not have any legal options because they do not have to prove anything to fire you, but if they slander you in a reference to another employer that is a different matter.  You can then sue them in civil court, and the basis of determination in civil court is "the balance of probabilities".  You wouldn't even have to prove that they slandered you, only that it was more probable than not that they did.    

So they can fire you and dump you out on the street all they like but as soon as they say a bad word about you, you can sue wihout requiring evidence.

Sounds like a world gone mad to me.
plasgears (Mechanical)
22 Oct 05 11:36
Try this:

"We mutually agreed that we should part company to pursue other interests." Source: outplacement advisor.

It's one of many polished lines of patter to transition out of the subject of being fired.
paulfielding (Automotive) (OP)
24 Oct 05 9:14
I like that!

I think that I have now been Mutually Partitioned, not canned.

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