I don't know whether it's normal. It certainly hasn't happened to me, and I have parted ways with employers many times. One thing I've learned: it doesn't pay to have any company loyalty after being laid off. Always file for unemployment - and be honest with the employment office. Do not feel sorry for your supervisor; he couldn't protect you, so why risk your benefits (which you seem to desperately need) for his sake? Don't worry about the reference. People are too afraid to give bad references, specially if they are unfounded, as they may get sued. Get a reference from a co-worker. Or explain in an interview how you parted with your previous employer, and that that is why you didn't ask them for a reference.
It may be too late now, but it isn't too late for your next job: join a union. I did, after parting ways in a bad way with an employer (who suddenly claimed it had no money to pay its employees), and it did pay off when parting ways with another, if only for the free use of their legal department (the parting of ways was done cleanly, via a court settlement (that way, my unemployment rights were protected). I phoned my union once, got a form to fill out, did not even have to appear in court myself, got half a year of severance pay. Legal fees: nada. This was in Europe, BTW)