1. Sexual Harassment and Revenge
It’s hard enough as it is to tell your tinder date after the first meet-up that you’re just not that into them. Perhaps you do it over text or ghost them and hope they just give up; its just plain uncomfortable either way. But how do you have the same conversation with your boss? Or how do you tell a fellow colleague you’re not interested? These people aren’t just some randoms you never have to see again, these are people you have to work with and see on a regular basis. Making a complaint about sexual harassment can lead to wrongful termination.
The most essential aspect of a sexual harassment claim against a person is that the behavior towards the person was uninvited. In other words, if one person’s flirtation is sexually and/or romantically motivated and the person on the receiving end of this behavior does not like it and wants it to stop, it is considered as unwelcome. Once the person on the receiving end identifies the behavior as unwelcome, the behavior is considered as sexual harassment. This can be problematic in a work situation especially if the harasser is in a managerial position and the victim is a lower ranking employee. How does an employee tell their boss “no” without feeling like he or she may then experience acts of revenge from their manager or boss?
For example, Itzel, an employee at a retail store, was invited out for drinks after work by Lisa her manager. At first, Itzel thought it was just a friendly invitation and agreed to attend. However, while at the bar, Lisa tried to kiss Itzel. Itzel pulled away before Lisa could make physical contact with her and said: “I’m sorry I have a boyfriend”. After that night, Lisa told other staff that she and Itzel had “hooked up”. As the rumor spread like wildfire, Itzel found herself feeling anxious to go to her shifts and uncomfortable. Lisa began purposely scheduling Itzel during shifts where they would close the store alone together. Itzel confronted Lisa at work and expressed her frustration with the rumors and that she was not interested in having a relationship with her beyond friends. Here, Itzel expressed her lack of desire to have a physical relationship with Lisa at the bar when Itzel dodged Lisa’s attempt to kiss her and also when she told Lisa that she had a boyfriend. Secondly, Itzel made it clear again that Lisa’s advances were unwelcome when she told her that she did not want anything beyond a friendship. The fact that Lisa spread rumors of a sexual encounter between her and Itzel can be considered as sexual harassment. Also, the way Lisa had organized the roster in a way that she and Itzel would be alone may be construed as a ploy to further her sexual advances towards Itzel. A few days later, Itzel was removed from the schedule and was never asked to return to work.
Here, Itzel may have a claim for wrongful termination in addition to a sexual harassment claim. Being removed from the schedule may imply Itzel has been let go from her position and the events leading up to her removal may indicate that this was out of revenge by Lisa for rejecting her advances, making her termination wrongful.
2. Disability Discrimination
There are many laws in place created to protect employees or potential employees who have a disability. The laws are there to provide a safe and fair space for employees to have a seat at the table in the working world regardless of their disability. This means the way a company decides to hire or treat current employees who have a disability is regulated by laws that protect the employee from mistreatment and/or prohibit unfair hiring practices.
For example, Bob a job applicant for a sales company has dyslexia. In order to carry out certain tasks, Bob requires a text-to-speech software to be installed on his work computer. After disclosing this in his interview, Bob was told by management that although his resume was impressive, unfortunately, they could not “meet his needs”. In this scenario, this may be seen through the eyes of the law as discriminatory hiring practices.
But let’s say Bob was hired and he ended up working for the sales company for 2 years. The company provided him the software for his disability and Bob was able to carry out his tasks accordingly. However, after a recent management change, Bob began feeling excluded based on his disability. The new manager of his team George had taken notice of the software Bob used and asked Bob questions on a daily basis regarding his disability. These questions made Bob feel uncomfortable and singled him out especially in meetings when George would refuse to delegate tasks to Bob. Eventually, George fired Bob without reason. Here, this may be construed as disability discrimination and in turn, would therefore possibly be wrongful termination.
3. Medical Leave
Many employees encounter sickness, injury, illness, or conditions in their lives as well as within their immediate family. An employee who has a particular medical issue may need to take time off from work to recover, receive treatment, or may even need an adjusted work schedule. In certain situations such as these, some employers may react negatively by letting the employee go or finding other means of firing the employee in order to avoid having to accommodate the employee during their time of need. An employer may feel even less inclined to provide adjustments for an employee if he or she asks for time off to care for a family member who has a medical condition. Fortunately, the law is compassionate in these particular scenarios and appreciates that life happens. So when an employer has a knee jerk reaction to fire an employee based on requesting medical leave, this can transform a termination into a wrongful termination.
For example, an employee who has a spouse who is receiving treatment for cancer may request leave to care for their spouse. In this situation, if the employer denied the request, forced the employee to use their sick days, or terminated the employee from their position, this may be wrongful termination.
For more info about Wrongful Termination please call a wrongful termination attorney.