Archive for wrongful termination lawsuit

Psychiatric Issues and Mental Health Problems: What Is the Responsibility of the Employer in This Situation?

Recently, an increased amount of attention has been paid to mental health issues. Everyone needs to have access to a trained mental health professional who can manage issues such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. Now, it appears that mental health issues are making their way into employment law as well. Recently, a High Court made an important decision in dismissing a wrongful termination case brought by a former employee.

An employer dismissed a former employee when that individual assaulted a colleague at work. In response, the former employee filed a lawsuit against the company. The lawsuit alleged that the plaintiff broke down because he was overworked, physically ill, and mentally ill. The individual also claimed that the defendant was responsible for his mental health issues. The individual was seeking damages related to personal injury due to an adverse impact on his mental health and physical well-being brought on by poor working conditions.

The judge decided to dismiss this case. The judge stated that the defendant was unable to prove that the employer should have known he was suffering from pre-existing psychiatric conditions. Therefore, the defendants were granted summary judgment and the case was dismissed. Even though the individual filing the lawsuit may have proven that he was suffering from mental health issues, he was not able to prove that his employer should have known that he was suffering from these issues. As a result, there was no way his employer should have altered his working conditions due to his pre-existing mental health conditions and diagnoses.

Employees need to disclose pre-existing physical and mental health issues to their employers. That way, their employers may be able to take steps to better accommodate their health issues. It is not necessarily the responsibility of employers to ask employees whether they are suffering from pre-existing conditions. Instead, employees need to voice their concerns to make sure they can be accommodated. As this recent dismissal indicates, individuals who break down due to mental health issues at work might not necessarily be able to bring a case of wrongful treatment or wrongful termination against a former employer.

Employees Assert Anti-LGBT Taunts, Threats and Racial Abuse in Tesla Lawsuit

Stories of anti-LGBT taunts, racial abuse and threats related to both have been recorded by employees of Tesla. One of such cases was a man who was repeatedly mocked and threatened because of his ‘gay tight’ dressing. Nothing was done about it when he reported, and he was penalized after complaining the second time. After continuous failure to stop the menace, he was fired without cause, and he filed a wrongful termination case for this.

Tesla has protected itself against these allegations by claiming an excellent track record. This does not tally with the many reports and lawsuits filed against the company including discrimination against race, gender, and anti-LGBT cases. Tesla always denies or refuses to address such claims saying they are unmeritorious.

An attempt to stand up

The man who was harassed because of his dressing claimed his supervisor began the series of taunts not long after he joined the company. After many threats, he feared for his safety and reported to a manager that he was facing reproach and threats because he was gay. Even though his assembly line was changed, he was still approached with similar problems. His second complaint had him transferred again, and according to him, this sent a retaliatory message from the company as he felt he was being punished. Shortly after, his manager sent him home without pay claiming he needed a doctors clearance to continue working because of an injury that dated back over two decades. He was fired even before he could see the doctor. Even though the doctor cleared him later on, Tesla’s actions were wrong and should be unacceptable.

For this, Tesla claimed they are regularly scrutinized in the public eye even though the company has an excellent track record. Company policy instructs that such cases be handled internally.

Unbearable racial discrimination

Another Tesla employee also filed a lawsuit hoping to defend other black workers from the abuse, racial discrimination and violent threats he and his son experienced at the company. This man reported severe racial sobriquets and drawings of derogatory cartoons of black people. He also witnessed his own son being abused like this in Tesla and felt powerless to help him.

Tesla replied with a defense as usual. They attacked the mans lawyer and tried to cover up the racist part when they did not even care enough to notice the reports before it was brought to public light.

Settlement Agreed Upon in Lawsuit Against Lakewood Police Department

Brian Wurts, a former Lakewood officer and police union president has settled in a federal lawsuit following allegations that he was fired because of his involvement in the union, for being outspoken against officials, and for his sexual orientation.

The department never gave an official public reason for his termination, stating instead that it was “a personnel department-fired-himmatter”. The department’s attorney claims that he lost his job for failure to act. The department that fired him unofficially claimed that they did so because of the case against former officer Skeeter Manos, who was arrested for stealing memorial funds set aside for families of officers slain in 2009.

They claim that Wurts knew of Manos’ actions and did not take action against him. Manos makes no such claims.  Wurts claims he knew nothing of Manos’ actions and that the department was looking for a reason to dismiss him.

He was officially fired in December 2012, after an administrative leave during which he was investigated by his own department. The FBI investigated him and cleared him of this crime when they did their initial investigations against Manos, who pleaded guilty and received just under three years in prison.

Wrongful termination suits for sexual orientation are on the rise, and whether or not this was the Lakewood Police Department’s motivation, the case will set a precedent for future employers considering terminating an employee because of their sexual orientation or any other aspect of their personality that does not affect the job.

Brian Wurts has made waves in his department in several ways. While under investigation it was discovered that he had sex, while on duty, with a fellow officer. The department does not list this a the reason for dismissal. He has also sexual-orientationspoken up for Manos during his investigation in his role as union president. Whether it was his sexual orientation, behavior on the job, or outspoken role as union president, he made some enemies high up in the department. When the information all came to light in the lawsuit, it seemed better for some to settle.

The lawsuit settlement payment that Brian Wurts received was $150,000, he has not been available for comment after the settlement of his wrongful termination lawsuit. The city counter sued in this case, but their claims were dismissed as a part of the settlement.