When my family and I immigrated to the United States from the Middle East in 1991, we came here in search of equal opportunity, liberty, and justice.Little do we know that decades later, we will find that the labor laws of Qatar and other third world countries provide better protection for employees [except in racial discrimination] Compared to US labor law, especially Virginia’s, lawyers told us, it protects companies at the expense of employees.
I wouldn’t have known this fact if I hadn’t been thrown into a case where I was discriminated against, harassed and retaliated against and then humiliated and unfairly fired, initially because the new boss didn’t accept liking me, but later because of my husband And I became a whistleblower when we reported serious security breaches committed by my counterparts at US overseas bases to management.When I was in the room with the top management in Doha, Qatar, from Virginia, they told me they no longer needed my services and that they didn’t want me to complete the notice period [I had submitted my resignation five days earlier when their vicious attack against me had reached its peak] I believe the law is on my side. How could I not be confident when the law clearly states that it is my responsibility to report violations and all I do is follow the law? As they littered the room with unjust decisions and orders and threw them in front of me, I assured them that I would take my rights from them legally. I told them to meet me in court. Little did I know the law was on their side, why? I’ve been told this is true because VA labor laws protect employers.
During that management visit, my former employer committed several violations. Not only did they fire a loyal employee in violation of whistleblower laws, but they also refused to pay me my entitlements for the remaining notice period. As if that wasn’t enough, they threatened to arrest me if I went back to work on base, even though I didn’t commit any violations but reported one. However, as if all this was not enough for them, they demanded that I, their compatriots and employees, who had moved to third world countries to manage their contracts, hand over within two days the company car and the villa, where we lived for five days. In other words, they just dumped my husband and me in a foreign country with no regard for our happiness, comfort, or safety. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, they went back to my office, met with my staff, and informed them in the most ill-advised way that I would not be coming back.They planted doubts about the ex-manager in the hearts of everyone including the client [me], in a way, my clients managing contracts in Doha – government agencies – were very, very impressed with my abilities up until that day, and to this day, six months after the incident, are avoiding dealing with me for any communication. My former employer must have said terrible things about me, despite the fact that I was the best, most efficient, dedicated and loyal employee they ever had. That’s what they rewarded me with in 2007 when they awarded me Employee of the Year.
The question now is: how do I get my rights back when all my attempts to resolve this issue directly with my former employer have failed. I have tried to resolve the issue by contacting the president and vice president of the company in a peaceful and professional manner, but instead of giving me a chance to explain what happened to them, they passed my information on to their attorney, who again started giving I sent warning letters reminding me that it was my responsibility to protect whatever happened inside the company and that I should not share it with the outside world. That is, they texted me intimidatingly to shut me up. I have tried to get lawyers to represent me and they have not assured me until today that there is very clear evidence of abuse, harassment and retaliation in many of the documents I have, but they are not willing to represent me unless I pay them to advance. How do I pay when I am currently living on unemployment? The company owes me thousands of dollars that I intend to claim in court if the so-called court gatekeepers allow it to reach the jury and judge.
I must add that I am aware of two other incidents of similar abuse and wrongful firing of former colleagues by the same management. Will the law stop them from intimidating people and help protect their rights, or will they continue to support the positions of these companies regardless of their ethics and practices? I am an employee with a very honorable track record with this former employer, and it may be that I am very enthusiastic about my right to sue them and receive financial compensation and legal protection, but I cannot find a legal way to restore my rights Reason. So I wonder, where are the less hard working but loyal employees? Is defending them and helping them regain their rights as impossible as it sounds? I hope that a brave, ethical lawyer will come forward and defend my case even though he or she knows that if they lose, they will not get any money from the defendant me.
PS I thank God for the support of my family in starting my own translation business. Without their moral and financial support, this would not have been possible, considering I have been unemployed since March 2010 with no income.
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