A Berlin, New Jersey, woman has sued her former employer for wrongful termination. According to the woman's complaint, she was fired in retaliation for drawing attention to bias in the workplace.
In 2007, the plaintiff says she was employed as a marketing consultant for a financial corporation based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Sometime during August 2012, the plaintiff took a leave of absence from her job for medical reasons. According to the plaintiff, it was around that same time that she began to experience bouts of anxiety and depression, which was made worse when she got areas with lots of car traffic such as peak rush hour periods. The plaintiff's doctor agreed and considered the woman's anxiety and depression a disability.
The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiff requested a modification to her work schedule when she returned to work in November 2012. She asked that she be allowed to come in after the morning highway rush hour and be permitted to leave work early to avoid the evening traffic crunch. She believes that request was a reasonable accommodation to her disability.
The plaintiff alleges that her former employer initially adopted the changes but only temporarily. She also asserts that the employer essentially demoted her by altering her duties to mostly clerical work. She claims that she lodged a formal complaint to with the company's ethics review board in May 2013, yet nothing came of it. She was fired May 17, 2013.
The damages the plaintiff is seeking have not been specified, but she is asserting that the defendant's actions violated New Jersey's Law Against Discrimination.
New Jersey employees fired from their jobs should know that in most cases, employers are within their rights to let them go due to any reason. However, there are some specific cases that may give rise to a wrongful termination suit. Perhaps the most important reason is retaliatory discharge. That is when an employer fires an employee in retaliation for reporting some wrongdoing, such as discrimination. Another example would be if an employer had a contract with the employee to work for a specified period of time. The firing of the employee prior to the completion of that period would breach that existing contract.
Source: Courier-Post, "Woman files suit against former employer over anxiety driving" Jim Walsh, Cherry Hill, Jun. 23, 2014