Boston, Holt & Durham, PLLC

Employment law: Court reinstates wrongful termination case

As most people in Tennessee are likely aware, romantic relationships can often come to an unexpected end. Couples who choose to end their relationship but share children together face complications. However, those who also share a workplace may face additional difficulties that could potentially result in an employment law claim. For example, an out-of-state woman has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit, alleging that she was fired for refusing to withdraw an order of protection against her estranged partner who was also serving as her manager.

The plaintiff in the case was a nurse at a health care and rehabilitation center in another state. According to reports, she was in a relationship with another employee at the center; the pair were together for approximately four years and had two children together when she claims that he assaulted her. The plaintiff reportedly sought an order of protection against the man; she was ultimately granted one that would last a year.

In the meantime, the man was promoted, which left him serving as her manager. However, he could not enter the workplace while she was present due to the order of protection. One day, she attempted to call in sick after he allegedly verbally abused her; she claims he threatened to lodge a complaint against her if she did not report to work. When she did, she was reprimanded for entering the building while he was present.

Soon after, she was allegedly told that if she did not withdraw the order of protection, she would not be put on a schedule, prompting her to leave her position and file a lawsuit. The center originally argued that the law under which the plaintiff filed her lawsuit did not expressly forbid a company from terminating an employee with a protection order, and the lower court judge agreed. However, that decision has recently been overturned by an appeals court, with judges ruling that an employer cannot force an employee to jeopardize his or her physical safety by demanding that a valid order of protection be withdrawn.

Issues of employment law can be complex matters. Unfortunately, this woman likely felt that she either had to potentially jeopardize her safety or lose her job. In some situations, employees in Tennessee have no other option than by pursuing justice through the legal system. An attorney with experience with such cases can help workers choose the most appropriate option.

Source: stlrecord.com, "Nurse's wrongful termination suit can proceed against Rancho Manor Healthcare", Sam Knef, July 7, 2017

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