My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: Missouri
I work for a XXXXXXXX company based upon an at-will employment agreement. About a month and a half ago, XXXXXXXX (a superior) confided in me about an affair that was on-going with another (married) employee (peer) of the company XXXXXXXX This was something that I did not want to know nor did I have any idea that it was happening. After explaining all that had happened, as well as telling me this i.t. administrator had also done the same with other employees, he requested that I not share the information with anyone to protect both our jobs. Subsequently, the person continued to confide in me about the situation, asking for advice or help, through txt messages or phone calls.
Last week he came clean about the relationship with the employee after the individual continued to harrass and threaten to disclose the affair. The (married) employee XXXXXXXX actually contacted me several times asking about how oftern I talk to him and if we hung out. I believe hetold him that I knew about what happened.
Monday, he resigned, but in doing so provided the disclaimer that I was aware of the situation and that they (company executives) would likely deam our interaction as inappropriate based upon the phone calls and txt.
Upon return from traveling this past week, I was asked to go directly to the office from airport after hours. My boss and another superior met me there and the discussion simply began as "we know about the situation and you need to do what's best for the company and yourself". They referenced a folder they brought which contained a resignation letter. I declined to resign as I didn't feel I had done anything wrong and questioned why such action should be taken. I explained that I had not acted on the information and continued to communicate with him simply becasue I didn't want to lose my job and/or be black listed. They then alleged that the other employee contacted another employee of the company and accused me of being intimately involved with him. The only proof was an alleged email from my personal account in which I did not write.
Both executives expressed the situation must be "cleaned up" and they needed to protect themselves and the company from the damage of the information getting out.
I was told not to go to work the next day and await contact from them. I met with my boss the next morning (off site) and he asked what I would be willing to do to walk away. He explained that they would compensate me and that an "explanation" of my departure would not be hard to make believable. I told him three times that if they felt there was something I needed to be held accountable for, I would prefer that they terminate me because I don't believe I should resign. He simply said they didn't want that to be an option. The meeting adjourned with him asking me to consider a severance agreement because "he was under a lot of pressure to get this taken care of"
He then asked me to come to the office that evening after hours. He provided me with an 8 page agreement that contained consideration of 2 weeks of employment, 1 months severance pay and pay for my outstanding balance of vacation time. The agreement contained numerous confidentiality clauses, but it was only directed at me and contained nothing regarding company.
I am not a lawyer, my degree is in finance, but I was certainly not comfortable with the agreement. I read and amended the agreement quite a bit that evening and met again with my boss the next morning. I expressed the desire for 3 months of severance given the current job/market conditions and I asked that the same recourse and confidentiality provisions be included to cover both parties. Amendments were made by chief legal council of company. My boss immediately signed the revised agreement and told me to sign it as he needed to get it taken care of before leaving for the day (Friday). His pushiness and demeanor did not make sense to me, so I declined to sign and told him I would have legal council review before signing. He asked me if I could have it done within a couple hours, because he wasn't going to leave the office until it was signed.
I left the office Friday afternoon and told my boss it was not possible to execute that day. I told him that I may be able to meet with counciel Saturday but I'd let him know. He called me twice, emailed and txt me Saturday trying to arrange a time to meet. I will be meeting with council on Tuesday and let him know that. He instructed me to not go to office Monday or Tuesday until this is resolved. So...my questions are as follows:
[*]Should I resign or do I have other options?[*]How do I handle them telling me not to come to work?[*]Why won't they just terminate me?[*]I feel like my name and character has been defamed, what rights do I have?
Thanks for any direction or advice you may have. Regards...