Friend Was Fired for Scratching Co-worker's Back

‘JT & Dale Talk Jobs’ is the largest nationally syndicated career advice column in the country and can be found at JTandDale.com. Dear J.T. & Dale: I have a friend who was terminated after 17 years for allegedly scratching the back of a fellow employee (through his clothes). I don't have the details. If someone is terminated under a cloud, how should he or she deal with the inevitable "Why did you leave your former job?" — Henry Dale: You're killing me, Henry. How can you not have details? This situation is a candidate for the flimsiest firing ever. J.T.: Whatever the details, the first step is to find out what will be said when a potential employer calls to check references. Perhaps you could call on your friend's behalf. If the company only validates dates of employment, he can just say something like, "I was let go," and leave it at that. However, if the former employer says, "Not eligible for rehire," or explains the termination, then your friend must go on the offensive and say he was let go for scratching a person's back. Again, give only the basics. If they ask for further info, your friend must be objective and factual, talking about how it was done innocently, and describing what he's learned. Dale: But the whole story just doesn't sound right. Sure, some hiring managers would sympathize, but many are going to think, "Nobody lets a top-notch employee go for THAT." I think your friend is going to have to network into job possibilities via personal introductions; these serve as the career version of character witnesses. This is a time when friends like you make all the difference. jt-dale-logoJeanine "J.T." Tanner O'Donnell is a professional development specialist and the founder of the consulting firm, JTODonnell.com, and of the career management blog, CAREEREALISM.com. Dale Dauten resolves employment and other business disputes as a mediator with AgreementHouse.com. Please visit them at JTandDale.com, where you can send questions via e-mail, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019. © 2011 by King Features Syndicate, Inc. Photo credit: Shutterstock

In our new YouTube series, "Well This Happened" it's your turn to be the career coach! What would you do if you asked a coworker when the baby was due and she responded with, "I'm not pregnant." Watch the video and cast your vote b posting a comment on Youtube. We'll select one person from the correct answers at random to win free membership to the Work It Daily program. Good luck!

SHOW MORE Show less

If you've ever wondered what a Work It Daily (WID) membership could do for you, a letter we got this week provides a powerful example...

SHOW MORE Show less

There are 3 things hiring managers are trying to initially assess about you in the job interview. This video walks you through what they are looking for and offers insights into the right information to give them. Be sure to check out our free resources mentioned in the video too. They are:

SHOW MORE Show less

Last week during my Office Hours on Youtube, a client asked about how to deal with a workplace bully. After spending many years in corporate HR, I flipped to the other side and became a career therapist. So, I've seen both sides of this situation in the workplace. In this video, I discuss why people struggle to deal with bullies and what you can do to change the situation instantly.

This week, I did something that truly scared me. I sent an email to over 120,000 Work It Daily newsletter subscribers and asked them to answer the question, "What do we do?"

SHOW MORE Show less

A market correction is going to happen. When it does, layoffs will follow. I've been in the HR and recruiting industry for over two decades and have seen three recessions of varying sizes. In the video above, I explain how to tell when a recession is coming and what that means to you and your career. While many people will skip watching this. Or, will watch it and do nothing. I hope YOU are the smart, savvy professional who sees how important it is to prepare for unexpected, unwelcomed career circumstances.

SHOW MORE Show less

In this video, you'll learn how to tell if your career is plateauing due to the Executive Blues. You'll also learn what you can do to fix the problem and get your "executive energy" back so you can keep your career on track and set goals to reach new heights of success!

Want to watch the full video tutorial by J.T.?

CLICK HERE to get access!