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Make sure documentation tells complete story of terminated worker’s conduct

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Employees who are fired don’t have much to lose by suing their former employer. And once they start talking to a lawyer, they often suddenly “remember” all kinds of terrible things their co-workers and supervisors did.

Counter revisionist employee hindsight with good documentation of every interaction leading up to the termination.

Recent case: Ali Darvishian, who worked for the U.S. Army as a civilian employee, is a Muslim from Iran. When his section was reorganized, he learned he would have to give up his private office and move to a cubicle elsewhere.

Darvishian refused to move even when given a deadline. He then complained about alleged discrimination. After an investigation concluded he was wrong, his supervisors again ordered him to move.

When he still didn’t, supervisors directed co-workers to pack up Darvishian’s things and place them in a locked file room. The supervisors told Darvishian to pick up the key and put everything in his cubicle.

That’s when Darvishian called the military police, claimed $1,000 in cash had been stolen during the move. Another investigation ensued and the co-workers who moved Darvishian’s belongings all told the police they didn’t find any cash in the office. The Army fired Darvishian for insubordination.

He sued, alleging discrimination and claiming one supervisor had previously said he wanted Darvishian dead.

The court didn’t buy it when faced with the rest of Darvishian’s erratic and insubordinate behavior. It dismissed his case. (Darvishian v. Geren, No. 08-1672, 4th Cir., 2010)

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