Today and in the future, I will from time to time share with you a few points that all of us must know about the court systems, appearing before an administrative judge and other matters where one has to stand and defend one’s rights.
One experience that is common to all is losing a job only to find out that one cannot receive unemployment benefits. Please understand that this is not an attempt to render anyone legal advice nor should the reader neglect to seek legal representation if involved in a legal dispute.
Keep in mind that no matter what one does for a living, anyone can be fired at any moment. All of us residing in the State of Georgia must know that Georgia is a state with “Employment At Will”. Employment At Will simply means that in the absence of a written contract of employment for a defined duration, an employer can terminate an employee for good cause, bad cause or no cause at all, so long as it is not an illegal cause.
It is important to remember this and protect oneself. For example, if a supervisor or a manager wants to fire an employee, several reasons can trigger that action. It could be for a legitimate reason. It could also be because of reasons that are illegal under the law, such as: race, skin color, country of origin, accent, and religious affiliation, the foreign language that you speak, gender, or there is someone else who wants in your spot. These tendencies are not only found in one’s immediate supervisors. There is no guarantee as what a judge harbors in his or he heart as we appear before them for a ruling. Sadly, it is a problem that many of among us have experienced and are continuing to experience.
Remember that as an employee, one has rights. One must know one’s rights and one must never allow anyone violate them.
As soon as an employee suspects he/she is being targeted for termination, it is important to start taking notes and keep a record of everything and every incident that happens at work. As the boss is keeping a file, one has a right to keep a record as well. One’s notes will help one remember the timeline of events and help to remain consistent before the court. For example, if one calls sick, one should write the time and date of the call and whom one spoke. Keep your telephone record and bring it to court. If the manager, supervisor or whomever comes to court to represent the company claim to have no knowledge of such call, your phone record will be your proof. Write in any language that is comfortable. If one cannot write, then explain what happened to a trusted person and have he or she write a record of your testimony. If one is given a document and one does not understand the content, I urge one not to sign a document that one does not understand. It is always for legal reasons that one is asked to sign a document.
When dealing with the government at any level such as Federal, County, State, Municipal or School Board, ask for an Interpreter especially if one is unfamiliar with some the legalese. Also, it is in one’s best interest to find out if there is a provision for free legal representation. One needs to take all court appointments as a very serious matter. Whether it is the traditional court setting or meeting with an Administrative judge in an office at the Department of Labor, remember to take all necessary steps to protect one. Once a judge puts one under oath, it is on one’s best interest to fully understand the questions so one can answer exactly to the questions asked. Remember that even if one is in the right, one has to prove that to the court.
What happens in the courtroom? What is an Administrative Judge? How should one behave in court? These are some of the questions that will be covered next time. Until then, be well and know that whatever hurdles are on your path, there is always a lesson to learn.
Category: Konpe Entel