Sunday, May 20, 2012

Worker embarrassed to attend retirement party after being fired

Jennifer writes:
I was recently fired from my janitorial job after 20-years of service.  I am 75 years old.  My manager and co-workers had asked me numerous times over the past three years when I planned on retiring.  I always responded with, “never.”  I loved my job, enjoyed the people I worked with and needed the money.  Having been a stay-at-home mom before divorcing my husband at age 55, I still have a mortgage, almost no money saved and a mere pittance of a social security check.  Three weeks before my birthday my manager called me in for a meeting, she had written me up for working too slow stating others had complained they had to complete my work.  I strongly disagreed with her statement and spent the next three weeks keeping to myself and working hard.

Around my birthday, my co-worker gave me an empty swag bag he had found in the ladies restroom (the company I worked for hosts numerous on-site conferences) and asked me if I wanted it.  I took it (despite knowing the rules – we are to turn in any left behind items to lost and found).  A week later I was called in to HR.  This very same employee had turned me in to his manager for stealing the swag bag.  I told them he had found the bag and had given it to me, though, I did admit to taking it.  He denied giving me the bag instead saying he had witnessed me stealing it.  I was fired.  

One more fact to note, my-coworker and manager are husband and wife.
Yesterday I received a phone call from one of my other co-workers; the company wants to throw me a retirement party.  The party will be held at my former place of work and supposedly everyone will be there.  I am embarrassed to show my face after what happened.  Am I obligated to attend?

I sincerely believe you were not fired for stealing an empty $2 swag bag; you were forced to retire because you are 75 years-old.  Companies can’t tell you that though or they risk being sued for discrimination.  They now feel guilty and want to give you a proper send-off and thank you for emptying their trash cans and scrubbing the company urinals for the past 20-years I highly doubt your former manager and her lying back-stabbing husband will show their faces.   Go.  You deserve a proper send-off.
Also, I believe in Karma. Setting you up like this was truly shameful. I predict your company will eventually outsource their janitorial services and your former manager and back-stabbing co-worker will be the first ones to be let go.

Enjoy your retirement. You deserve it.


  1. They may also be throwing this party to try to prevent you from suing them for wrongful termination. It might not even be a difficult suit since the swag bag is such a low value item.

    Am not sure what other recourse you might have, but you might check to see if there is a Legal Aid office in your community. They might be able to help you sue for your job back - if you want it back. good luck!

  2. What a sad story. What an ingrate of a company to treat you this way. Everything happens for a reason, and I hope you soon discover yours, and that this will turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

  3. I agree but the only thing is she still cannot afford to live. What a world we are living in, that SSI cannot support us, we need family, community. This must have hurt so much!

  4. Anonymous2:48 PM

    Keep your head held high. Bring a "parting" present for the manager to open. The swag item seems the perfect regift in my humble opinion.

  5. This is sad. I wish there was something she could do to fight her termination. I am sure she is not the only employee who took a swag bag . . . probably with something in it.

  6. Webb,
    I never thought of suing. Checking with legal aid is an excellent idea. Jennifer may not want her job back especially if she has to work with and for the same people, but she may be able to receive lost wages for wrongful termination.

  7. Monica,
    I hope you are correct and in the long run Jennifer will be able to enjoy retirement.

  8. That's TERRIBLE. I don't know if I could go either. Let them stew in their guilt. Move on, sister. (((hugs)))

  9. Jodi,
    Yes, this just goes to show our social programs are not enough for the disadvantaged.

  10. Anonymous,
    You may have written my favorite comment ever on this blog. Great idea.

  11. Stopping by from SITS...oh this story hurts my heart! Great advice & best of luck to this worker...I agree, Karma will come back around in the positive for her!

  12. Sharon-
    I am sure you are right. I hope Jennifer takes Webb's advice and calls legal counsel.