Three years ago, my brother B moved out to Oregon with his (now) wife J. She got a job, and being the good man that he is, he followed her to greener pastures. A year ago, my youngest brother N moved out here too. N realized he was going nowhere fast living in rural Iowa, so decided to make the jump out west. They all live in Central Oregon.
N is a chef. And, finding a chef job in a pretty established area is hard. After a few false starts, he found a restaurant with an owner/chef who he could respect. About four months ago, there was talk about N buying out the owner’s ex-wife share of the business and becoming a partner.
In early December, N came to work to take over the breakfast shift from the owner. After the owner left, he went into the back to get something and discovered the guy left meat out to thaw, but didn’t put it in a container. The result was the water and blood all over the floor. N turned to tell the waitress something and slipped in the mess. As he said, “I heard your voice in the back of my head saying – Take pictures!”. He used his cell phone to document it just in case. In the end, he messed up his back and was told by his doctor he couldn’t work for two weeks. He was also advised to submit workers comp paperwork given it was an on-the-job injury.
The owner felt bad. And over the course of the next week, he was in continual contact with N trying to find ways for N to get more hours, etc. About two days before going back to the doctor, N started hearing from people that the owner was going to fire him. The waitress who is notorious for starting rumors had started speculating that N was drunk when he came to work that day. My brothers are both HUGE Chicago Bears fans, so she knew that N had gone to the local bar to watch it on their satellite feed before coming to work. While everyone else drank a beer, he had coffee since he had to work. Sure enough, the morning he was to see the doctor again, N received EMAIL from the owner terminating his employment. Later in the day, the doctor released him to go to work – and advised he find an attorney. N talked to an attorney who gave him great advise, and he followed it.
When N filed for unemployment, the owner challenged it. The investigation and ruling were in favor of N. N found out two days ago that he was appealing the judgment, and a follow-up hearing was scheduled for yesterday.
N called me immediately freaked out. I had him read everything, told him not to worry that the evidence the State found was pretty damming for the owner, and predicted that the owner wouldn’t show up for the hearing. N started telling me about all of this evidence he wished he could provide – text messages the owner sent to him up to three days before the firing. All were plans on what changes he was going to make once N got back to work. (I should point out that the owner stated in his evidence to the state that he had planned on firing N on the day of the incident two weeks prior, but had to wait until he was released back to work.)
I told him he could get them off his phone easily. I gave him a couple of options and told him to just make sure he had the matching phone bill records that prove N received texts from the owner’s number at the time and date on the text messages. Better yet, I suggest he go to his cell phone company’s store and ask for help. This would also give him a witness who could show that what was on the phone matched everything. All of these things, he did. After he submitted them as evidence, the guy didn’t show to the hearing. N won, the guy lost, and the door to all of this was finally closed.
Because it pissed B off that this guy is still trying to ruin N’s reputation, B composed a letter to the owner suggesting that he cease the lies or else he will hire an attorney to go after him for defamation. Additionally, he pointed out that N has at least 3-4 credible witnesses to the fact he drank coffee and had not consumed alcohol. B, as N, ended it with “This obviously means little to you, but reputation and respect is all that ever keeps any of us successful long-term. I wish you the best of luck with your successes.” Have I mentioned that my brother B is a writer and editor?
Yeah, we take care of our own. It must make my parents proud to see that despite the spats and typical stuff, we will also stand up for each other in the end. And, we do it without their prompting or intervention. As N would say, now my parents can die knowing the kids won’t fight. Actually, he would probably just recite some rap lyrics as though they are poetry.
Have I mentioned we all have a very odd sense of humor?