One former California Walgreens worker is suing the large drugstore chain after the senior maintenance mechanic was fired from his job. The man told another co-worker that a "wet vac" was needed to clean up spilled products on the floor at a warehouse for the company. This is a device often used to vacuum up spilled liquids. However, the employee who heard the request thought that he had used a racial slur and reported him to the company. The man was suspended the next day and then fired. He was not given a chance to respond to the allegation or explain the misunderstanding, he said.
Workers in the San Francisco Bay Area continue to face sexual harassment or other types of inappropriate behavior on the job. Even more upsetting, those who attempt to report wrongdoing can face retaliation. Workers have lost jobs and promotions because they tried to stop the behavior. However, just like discrimination itself, retaliation in the workplace is illegal. Retaliation can take many forms, from increased harassment to demotion to termination.
Being terminated from a job, whether it was a firing or as part of lay offs, is never fun. Anyone in that situation is going to be upset and have thoughts centered on whether they were treated fairly or not. Some of these people have legitimate reasons to feel aggrieved.
A couple of months ago, we wrote a post about wrongful termination and how there are certain circumstances where a company fires or terminates an employee that leads to a lawsuit. This is an important subject, and today, we have a news story about it that though it doesn't originate from San Francisco, it does highlight important aspects of wrongful termination that relate to anyone, anywhere.
When an employee is fired or discharged from their job, it is natural to be angry and upset with your employer. You may think back to some conversations you had with supervisors or conflicting ideas you had with fellow employees, and, naturally, you may think that those individual moments are what led to your dismissal. You may even think that your firing was wrongful or illegal. These are common feelings to have in the wake of a firing.
Anyone who has been fired from a job has likely had the following thought, if only fleetingly: "Was I fired for the reasons my employer stated, or was that just an excuse?" Unfortunately, too many employers are able to fire workers for illegal reasons masked as legitimate.
For the most part, private companies have a lot of leeway when it comes to the reasons behind their hiring, firing and demotion decisions. The public sector, however, is different. Government employees are generally protected from employment retaliation when exercising their constitutional rights to free speech and association. But a case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court could put that protection to the test.
In the business world, it is a commonly held belief that getting ahead requires and justifies unethical behavior - sometimes even illegal behavior. While there are plenty of companies that obey all applicable laws and demand that all employees act with integrity, there are other companies that will always put profit ahead of everything else.