Still Paying for an Old Mistake
Q: I worked for eight consecutive years and received excellent annual evaluations. I know I was rated higher than any of the other employees because we (the employees talked to each other) and my supervisor told me I was.
Some time after that I asked for a personal day off. My supervisor asked me why I needed to take it at that time, and I told him I had to go to the doctor. He pursued his questioning me, so I told him it was for a medical condition. I thought of it as regular conversation and nothing important. Soon after, my supervisor told me they were going to let me go because of my medical condition. I was in disbelief. They did let me go and with that termination, my benefits ended. One benefit was attending college courses for free, which was a huge benefit. I could have continued if I started paying for it, but I didn't. I was in such shock at the whole thing that I wasn't thinking clearly.
I let that go as well. It's years later and I regret letting all of it go without checking into it. I felt that filing a lawsuit against my employer was an overall bad thing to do. Now I find out that it's too late to do anything.
A: It is understandable that you would be in shock at the time it happened (you mistakenly divulged personal medical information), so here is how you should make major decisions.
Do not judge whether a lawsuit is a good or bad thing to do at the time the event occurred. You were in a state of shock, as can be expected when being fired with an eight-year excellent employment record. That alone should give you pause to examine why it happened, and no one during such a time is in a good position to make such yes-or-no judgments.
Postponing collecting information for a lawsuit when faced with deadlines is always a bad decision. The time to decide is within the period of possibilities (after the emotional period passes but still in the time of opportunity for a lawsuit). Deadlines for filing a lawsuit under most situations are absolute; hence your time for thinking about it is dead.
Collecting the needed information doesn't require you to file a lawsuit, but you cannot file one if you have passed the opportunity time. This is true for any situation in life with deadlines. It's a hard truth to hear, whether it's a deadline for continuing your education or receiving a job offer or filing a lawsuit. While major decisions require deadlines, some are more serious than others and some can require paying amounts you may end up losing.
Procrastinating can turn into a final decision. And this is not a good situation to be in, ever.
Email career and life coach: Lindsey@LindseyNovak.com. For more information and past columns, see www.creators.com/features/At-Work-Lindsey-Novak.