Employee Lawsuits Happen to Small Businesses Like Yours
What is it worth?
After the attacks of September 11, 2001, an Afghan-American Muslim employee was ostracized by his coworkers. One falsely reported him to the authorities as a suspected terrorist. The museum terminated his employment without notice, allegedly for taking excessive time to complete security rounds. However, other security guards had taken as long or longer and were not disciplined. He filed a charge with the EEOC, who sued on his behalf.
The museum settled for $60,000.
More Claims — All of these lawsuits resulted in employee verdicts or settlements
Jewelry Store—Sexual Harassment and Wrongful Discharge
A retail salesperson alleged that she was abused by the store owner and his son. She also claimed that they touched her inappropriately, offered to trade sex for jewelry and slapped her. She complained about the behavior, but neither made an effort to stop the situation. When she and a co-worker considered opening their own store, the owners found out and fired her. The lawsuit went to a jury—and a verdict against the store.
Museum—Discrimination and Retaliation
A museum employee worked as a program manager for nearly 30 years, when she was reassigned to a historic preservation facility. She claimed that the transfer resulted in lower pay, and that it was in response to her opposition to returning certain objects to their communities of origin. She sued for violations of civil rights and free speech, as well as retaliation and breach of contract. The museum paid to settle the lawsuit.
Jewelry Designer—Discrimination and Retaliation
A gay jewelry designer contended that he was subjected to abuse regarding his sexual orientation. He reported the comments and behavior to the CFO, who in turn alerted the owner. He was fired the next business day. The owner said that the comments were only good-natured banter and that the termination was in response to the employee’s threats involving other workers. The jury found a hostile work environment and awarded him damages for emotional distress.
A manager of a jewelry retailer that sold custom jewelry complained about a store policy that penalized employees for customer theft. She reported the practice to state authorities, and the store was forced to reimburse employees. She was terminated on the grounds of her being uncooperative with management and customers. The jury took her side, and found unlawful retaliation.
Be proactive! Develop a plan and execute!