3 Unbelievable Wrongful Termination Cases
Written by Cooper and Friedman on August 13, 2018
Being fired can be heartbreaking, inconvenient, and anger inducing. It can also be unfair and biased in which case it is called wrongful termination.
In states like Kentucky and Indiana, neither the employer nor the employee enters a contract with, or holds any obligation to, the other. Kentucky and Indiana are both “at-will” states for this reason. But what does “at-will” mean? In layman’s terms, it means that an employee can resign or be fired for any reason at all. And no reason at all. Even though Kentucky and Indiana are “at-will” states, there are cases where wrongful termination does occur.
Under federal law, a person cannot be fired based on their sex, gender, race, religion, age, color, or ethnicity. Employers cannot consider handicaps when hiring, either, as outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Wrongful termination is a somewhat confusing area of law due to all of the exceptions. In addition to the exceptions listed above, an employee cannot be fired, let go, or demoted because of a pregnancy, refusal to break the law, or for organizing a union. It is also illegal to fire someone for voting, serving jury duty, or reporting to the military.
However, there are a wide array of exceptions that lead way to wrongful termination. Some are so bizarre that they are not covered by law. Follow along to learn about 3 wrongful termination cases that are so unbelievable even we had to fact check.
1. Anonymous Man Fired for Reporting Sexual Harassment
While this incident occurred a few years ago, it is poignant in this day and age. With the #MeToo movement in Hollywood, sexual harassment is as the forefront of a lot of conversations. According to Business Insider, a man was fired for reporting sexual harassment that he had witnessed, in the office, by his own boss. Though this man decided to remain anonymous, the story rings loud and true of sexual harassment cases within the workplace.
After being taken under the wing of the boss, the anonymous reporter noticed that the higher up was keen on sharing lewd jokes and vulgar stories. These stories weren’t kept “in the locker room” as so many are. Instead they were shared in front of female employees. These female employees told the man that they were uncomfortable, but unsure how to move forward without getting fired. So, said man stepped in and reported the harassment to HR. Not too far after, the man was fired for “poor performance” after being demoted for an unknown reason.
This man doesn’t regret being terminated for reporting the harassment. However, he does feel that he was wronged for doing the right thing.
2. Woman Terminated for Capitalization in an Email
In New Zealand, a woman by the name of Vicki Walker was wrongfully terminated for using capital letters in an email. The text was also bolded and in a red font color, but the main case against Walker focused on the capitalization.
Walker was working as an account at the time, in 2007, when she sent out a company wide email regarding staff claims. In the email, she used red font to highlight the submission deadline. She also used bolded text, that was capitalized, to direct employees to use an outlined checklist that would ensure their claims were submitted correctly.
The employer, ProCare, was cited in their claim as firing Walker because she had “caused disharmony in the workplace by using block capitals, bold typeface, and red text in her emails.” Walker counter claimed that she was simply drawing attention to the important deadline and the helpful checklist to make her team’s lives easier.
After the Employment Relations Authority in New Zealand caught wind of the case, they ruled in Walker’s favor. The authorities claimed that Walker wasn’t terminated fairly and ordered her past employer to pay her $17,000 dollars for wrongful termination.
3. Employee at Home Depot Prevented a Kidnapping and Was Fired
After witnessing a woman get assaulted in the parking lot of his place of business, Dillon Reagan from Oregon, stepped in to stop the incident from escalating. After calling the police and being told to follow the assailant who was leaving with the woman’s child, Reagan did what he was told. Reagan assisted police in helping stop the assailant and prevented a kidnapping from occurring. Then he was fired from his job. Home Depot cited that Reagan “broke a safety violation by leaving the store to assist police while he was still on duty.” Because of this, they decided to terminate him.
In this day and age, it didn’t take long for the story to go viral. The story also focused a bad light on Home Depot. As a retail giant, they couldn’t afford the negative publicity they were receiving. They offered Reagan his job back and, luckily, avoided a wrongful termination case. Reagan accepted Home Depot’s offer and returned to his job in the end.
As we stated earlier, wrongful termination cases are unique to the employee, employer, and situation. However, if you feel that you have been wrongfully terminated from a job, contact us today. We offer free consultations and will help determine if you have a wrongful termination case.
The lawyers at Cooper and Friedman Law Office have over 40 years of combined experience representing victims of wrongful termination cases. We’ve got the expertise to take your case on and fight for you to get the compensation you deserve. If you’re interested in learning more, contact us today for a free case consultation. Fill out our contact form online or by calling 502-459-7555.