My question involves defamation in the state of: Illinois
My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: Illinois
Here is the scenario: I have worked off and on for a car dealership in Illinois. I was asked by the owner to start a project that his VP never would follow through on. He hired me Oct, 1st 2009. I was to interview website providers and CRM companies.
The goal was to find the best website provider, phone recording and CRM systems and a process implemented to make them all work. I had recommendations and had them presented to the organization. I did that and group like the recommendations and moved full speed ahead.
The Vice President was not happy about being bypassed in the process and had a vendetta against me. So the websites are designed and go live. The phone tracking systems are set up. The computers are installed. A BDC department is set up. The project startup cost about $150,000 and part time people are hired to answer phones and set appointments.
The auto group is live to handle calls, follow up and sell more cars. The VP is yeah, yeah, yeah during the set up and then tries to throw monkey wrenches into every phase and I mean ever phase their after. He now is mister devils advocate after everything is in place. The owner whom hired me because the VP didn't get the job done is now listening to
A customer calls into the BDC department and has marginal credit. I speak with her , set an appointment and have her drive to our store about 20 miles away.
She comes in and is greeted by a new hire salesperson. The credit is run and they tell her that she needs to trade a car in or get a cosigner. She wants a car and no management wants to speak with her only a new salesperson as the middleman. She proceeds to ask to speak with me. I greet her at the desk and ask a few questions. “like who said your not approved” or “can you get a cosigner”. She says she can get a co signer her mom, but she is in Missouri. I say can you call her? She yes. Calls her mom but no answer. This is a grown woman in her mid 30"s. In the meantime I talk with the Finance Manager and ask who said she needed a co-signor. He never sent the deal to any banks and just made a judgment call on his own.. I explain that it is illegal to not send the deal to a bank. It is our obligation as a dealer and the law. I said well doesn’t the bank make that decision. By law we were responsible to send in the application. He wasn’t happy, but proceeded to send it in. The bank now said she needed money, cosigner or trade her current car in. Great, now we have a real answer. I spoke with the womanand explained that she needed the above conditions in order to be approved. I gave her a credit application for her mom for when she gets back in town, or she could fill out an application on the phone, internet or come in. She left with a blank credit application in hand and I left for the day:
Now the slander: I come into work the next day and the owner and VP are staring at me with disgust. They summons me into the office and I begin to get told (yelled) that by the VP that he is not going to jail for me. I mean completely out of line mf'd to the point where he looks crazy! I said what are you talking about? He proceeded to accuse me of telling the lady to fill out her mom’s credit application in the car and then bring it back into the store immediately. I said absolutely not. In fact the salesman and the owner’s son were next to me during the conversation and confirmed that not to be true. He continued to accuse me of doing an illegal credit application. I said absolutely not. The owner agreed that see how stories become embellished third hand. The VP then summons the Director and 3 other managers upstairs to confirm that the lady said I told her to fill out the credit application illegally. Once again I held my ground explaining that I was merely trying to help and do things the right way. I suggested we call the customer on speaker phone. They declined. I had the sales manager whom I found out was also mad because I made him look bad inadvertently. All prospects should be greeted and thanked for coming into the store regardless of credit or buying decisions. He did neither.
Next a third party vendor calls me up saying that the VP told him that I was involved in doing illegal credit applications and that he was not going to jail for me. I explained the situation to him. I then proceeded to call the owners wife (sister in law)and explained the situation to her regarding defaming me to a third party vendor and she says lets three way call him (VP) and see what he says. We call and I begin the conversation all over again and I say why are you telling third party vendors that I am doing illegal/criminal things at work. I told him who told me and he says”: let’s move forward” as I say “ it’s my reputation”. He apologized and admitted to us (3 way call with owners wife) saying it because he was mad and said he wanted to move forward. I said once again that he told more than one vendor that he wouldn’t go to jail for me. I hang up and the owner’s wife said “you should sue him for defamation of character”.
The next day the vendors sales rep who told me that the VP said he wasn’t going to jail for me was no longer allowed to be on the account and to have no contact with the store. I couldn’t believe it. A week goes by and another vendor confirms that the VP told him the same story. Also several employees that day were all told the same story.
I get put on a new assignment to interview, train and hire new sales consultants. I follow protocol and train for two weeks new hires and they begin selling. Next two weeks go through the whole process again to graduate 8 new hires and then I am told by the VP that they didn’t need any new hires. I said why would you have me interview, train and hire 8 new sales people if you didn’t need them. Keep in mind thre training was done at the VP's store. I then am no longer needed or wanted at this location. Several new hires that I trained were told by the VP to have no contact with me or they would be fired.
The VP now finds anything in his power to eliminate the vendors company who told me what he said. Keep in mind this was 6 months of setting up and confirming each step along the way and he wants to start over?
The controller at another location tells me that she was called by the VP saying he wasn’t going to jail for me. The other 3 locations no longer needed my service either. They continue to pay me for 4 months for literally doing nothing. I talked to the Controller and Presidents assistant about being paid for nothing. They said well good for you.
Here is the kicker: I am the brother in law of the owner. I am highly skilled and am an extreme threat to the management for my relationship. But little do they know the owner/brother-in-law only uses me and we have no relationship. I know that. So I used him back. They sent me my last check last week. No one has called or confirmed that I no longer work for the company. I know it sounds weird. I called to ask where my check was and they said that I was cut off. I have had no verbal or written notices. I was told I could work from home as I have for the past 10 months. I iniate all contact. What does this mean and do I have a defamation/hostile work environment case?