When my book on the subject, Uncommon Decency: Christian Civility in an Uncivil World, appeared in 1992, I was interviewed frequently by journalists on the subject of civility. At first I was surprised by how often they wanted to talk, not about the “big” incivilities of tribal and international hostilities, but about more mundane displays of anger: road rage on California freeways and rudeness in the aisles of supermarkets. But they were onto something. These less global manifestations of incivility have increasingly become preoccupations for all of us. Kids in middle-class schools are driven to the point of suicide because of bullying by their peers. Campus gossip sites spread salacious stories about students who are identified by name. Bloggers sit daily at their keyboards to spew forth hatred. “Experts” shout at each other on our 24/7 cable news channels.
Monthly Archives: November 2010
WI Supreme Court Upholds Decision in Favor of Employees Fired By Employers Looking to Avoid Benefit Payments
This Wisconsin State Bar article describes a recent WI Supreme Court case, US Bank, the outcome of which I think is very helpful for diverse employee benefits situations. The WI SC was split (the even # was due to Justice Annette Ziegler not participating), and the appellate decision in favor of the employee thus stands.
The upheld appellate holding: “an at will employee does not forfeit benefits [in this case, a vested sales-related bonus per a bonus plan] that have accrued during his or her employment even though the agreement governing those benefits conditions their receipt on the employee’s continued employment if the employer fires the employee solely to prevent the employee from getting the accrued benefits.”
The appellate court (full decision here) relatedly found:
While it is true, as U.S. Bank argues, that in the at-will-employee context there is no “duty to terminate in good faith,” Brockmeyer v. Dun & Bradstreet, 113 Wis. 2d 561, 564, 569, 335 N.W.2d 834, 836, 838 (1983) (at-will employee) (emphasis added), the requirement that parties act in “good faith” inheres in every contract and, therefore, an employer must comply in good faith with its “contractual obligations,” Hale v. Stoughton Hosp. Ass’n, Inc., 126 Wis. 2d 267, 274, 376 N.W.2d 89, 93 (Ct. App. 1985) (“Brockmeyer does not relieve an employer of contractual obligations it has undertaken.”).
If you have received text and/or voice messages from someone who has mistreated you– for example, a harassing text message, or a voice message about your job being terminated, from your boss– you should save those messages to a secure place ASAP. Those messages may serve as legal evidence later, so you want to be sure they are saved.
If you don’t take quick action to save such messages, and leave them where they are, they may be erased by your cell phone. They may well be erased automatically and quickly (maybe within days). Further, they may be erased from a cell phone company’s records as well, leaving no trace of the text or voice mssages unless you save them yourself. Don’t assume a text or voice message will remain where it is for any amount of time.
To save such a message permanently, your cell phone should allow you a menu-option that lets you save the message into a secure place, e.g. a folder on your cell phone that is not automatically deleted. There likely is also a menu option that lets you forward the message (e.g. under a “Forwarded As Email” menu option) and send it to a place (e.g. to a personal email account) where you know the message will not be erased automatically. Take all such steps/menu options available. This will help ensure you’ve got the information permanently and safely retained.
The bottom line is this: if you get an important text or voice message, take quick action to save or forward it to a place you know is safe, secure and permanent. If you need help doing this, review your cell phone user guide, or contact a tech-savvy person (e.g. a cell phone co. representative) to make sure you will save the information appropriately.