Threats Off Being Fired Over Personal Matter

Question:

I have been with my company for 4.5 years and a junior partner and VP for 3 years. The company has three partners, one is my uncle. In October he got into a disagreement with my husband and threatened to fire me. He later apologized. Now his wife my mom’s sister is angry at her and she threatened to have her husband fire me, because I was easily replaceable. How do I handle this? There is no job performance issues that I am aware of, just personal. I no longer want my livelihood threatened because they are angry with someone else. Do I have any legal recourse if I am fired? I want to handle everything in a professional manner without family getting involved.

Signed,

Family Feud


Answer:

Dear Family Feud:

I think you should consult an attorney who specializes in business law. According to the law in your state, and the status of the registration or incorporation of your business, your partnership and VP role may provide you with protection from firing.

If your partnership is only a title, without legal basis, that would be different. But even then, an attorney might be able to find a legal remedy based on your expectation of job security as a junior partner and VP. I don’t know that any of that is the case, but it is worth checking on.

It sounds to me as though there is a lot of saber rattling going on. By that I mean a lot of empty talk based on personal animosity and the desire to show power and authority. Given that, I would also ask the attorney what financial recompense you might be able to get from quitting. OR, what you might have to pay if you try to quit.

In any event, you need legal advice. I hate to ask you to spend the money on it, but it will take some review of your business documents to give you good advice. On the other hand, it might save you a great deal of money and hassle in the long run.

I know this much–you’re right that this is no way to live, and no way to work. Although, you realize, I’m sure, that as much as you say you don’t want family to be involved, there is no way to handle this without family being involved.

Perhaps you can approach it from the viewpoint that if your partners are not happy with your work, you would like to know what needs to be changed. If you can live with that, OK. If you can’t, then you can say you want to quit to avoid a family problem over time. Maybe that would salvage some aspect of it.

We would be interested in hearing what happens with this, since it is an unusual situation. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what action you take, and the result.

Best wishes!

Tina Lewis Rowe