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  • klmaricle
    started a topic wrongful termination Missouri

    wrongful termination Missouri

    I was involved in a long term (14 yrs) personal relationship outside of work with my immediate supervisor at the time. Two years ago we ended the personal relationship.

    I worked in Illinois in 2007 and left the company for one year. In 2008 I reapplied and was rehired to work in Missouri. He was no longer my immediate supervisor.

    After having a discussion with my current supervisor's supervisor, I was informed that my old supervisor from Illinois was trying to get me fired for personal reasons due to our past personal relationship.

    Can he legally do this?

    I have a proven, documented, good work record with this company. In part, recognized by them rehiring me.

    How can I proactively prevent this termination from happening?

    Please advise me as soon as possible in regards to my legal right in this situation.

  • DAW
    replied
    Good stuff. I hope everyone else took notes on the last several posts (I did).

    Leave a comment:


  • ElleMD
    replied
    In the Durango case the supervisor continued to pursue the employee and had her fired immediately after she rejected his aconstant dvances. That is a very different situation.

    See Succar v. Dade County School Board.,229 F.3d 1343 (11th Cir. 2000) . cited in the above case,

    where we found that the ex-lover's harassment of the plaintiff was based solely on a prior intimate relationship, and not on the plaintiff's gender. In Succar, plaintiff's ex-girlfriend verbally and physically harassed Succar in their workplace after their relationship ended. We found that Succar did not have a valid Title VII claim because the "harassment of Succar was motivated not by his male gender, but rather by Lorenz's contempt for Succar following their failed relationship; Succar's gender was merely coincidental."

    Even in that case the harassment continued. Unless the OP left a lot out (which could be the case) there is no harassment, no indication that employment is conditioned on resuming any kind of relationship, nor any pattern of terminating only women who the supervisor does not get along with. It never hurts to talk to a lawyer but in this situation, I just don't see a case for gender discrimination or sexual harassment based on a consentual relationship that ended years ago and has not in any way resumed.

    Leave a comment:


  • cbg
    replied
    Do we actually know that the OP is the one who ended the relationship? She doesn't say so.

    Leave a comment:


  • ESteele
    replied
    One, as a precautionary and strategic measure, the OP here should complain to HR that she has reason to believe that her former supervisor-lover is engaging in unlawful sexual harassment by orchestrating her dismissal due to his personal animosity towards her for ending their consensual relationship. If the employer nonetheless proceeds to terminate her at the behest of this supervisor, she may have a viable retaliation claim separate and apart from a potential quid pro quo claim. Compare Lipphardt v. Durango Steakhouse, 267 F.3d 1183 (11th Cir. 2001).

    Two, courts have allowed cases to proceed to trial with a quid pro quo claim in which the jilted paramour has sought retaliation against his former lover. E.g. Williams v. Civiletti, 487 F.Supp. 1387 (D.D.C. 1980). For the vast majority of employers, a jury trial is a nightmare waiting to happen. IMHO, it is essentially a roll of the dice whether a company could ultimately convince a jury such conduct did not amount to unlawful sexual harassment.

    Three, even assuming the employer terminates the OP and the trial court forecloses her from advancing a retaliation or a quid pro quo claim against her employer (as a result of defendant’s summary judgment motion), she may nevertheless have a viable McDonnell Douglas gender disparate treatment claim. While a supervisor can very well legally engineer the termination of his former golf buddies, he would need to show a level of evenhandedness in his retribution efforts in order to withstand a gender based disparate treatment claim. If the jilted paramour uniformly seeks to terminate anyone with whom he no longer has good personal relations, then he may very well succeed in deflecting a claim that gender was an invidious consideration in his efforts in this instance. However, in all probability, he has not ever sought to discharge any of his former male golfing buddies or other male friends without good cause. It would then appear that the triable factual dispute remains: Did the company unlawfully terminate this veteran female employee under these bizarre circumstances because of her gender?

    In summary, based on the facts she presented, it would appear OP here would have various potential legal theories to explore if her former lover succeeds in having her summarily terminated.

    Leave a comment:


  • Alice Dodd
    replied
    When are women going to learn? How many co-workers might harbor ill will thinking she slept her way to where she is? Don't women understand that, in the long term, they NEVER get the good end of the deal when sleeping with the boss?

    Leave a comment:


  • ElleMD
    replied
    However, unless the former supervisir has actually made some sort of overture, it is going to be darn near impossible to prove quid pro quo based on a relationship that has been over for several years. At this point, you just have one employee who holds personal animosity to another. Whether they work in the same state or not, that is a legal even if petty reason to terminate someone. The fact that years ago they were intimate as opposed to golf buddies doesn't have bearing on now. The law doesn't protect against personal relationships which have gone sour. It does protect against an employer firing someone for rejecting sexual advances and being treated in a hostile manner due to one's sex. Huge differece.

    Leave a comment:


  • ESteele
    replied
    A jury would likely have to sort out the intent question here. The employer cannot in all likelihood dispose of such a case via a summary judgment motion.

    The jury would have to determine whether a company summarily discharged a female employee with fifteen years (or more) of good work performance because her cessation of her affair with a supervisor or because the supervisor reasonably found her presence in another state “uncomfortable.” (One related point: It is doubtful the company has ever terminated an employee with a long tenure and good performance in State A because another employee in State B found her presence in the company innocuously unsettling.)

    In short, OP, you should promptly consult with a local employment law attorney as soon as possible to determine the best short term and long terms steps to take in response of this looming threat of discharge.

    Leave a comment:


  • Betty3
    replied
    Possible but doesn't sound like any sexual harassment or discrimination. It "seems" relationship has ended & trying to get her fired for personal reasons due to their past relationship. This would be legal. Agree that if any sexual harassment/discrimination involved that would be illegal.

    Leave a comment:


  • Beth3
    replied
    After having a discussion with my current supervisor's supervisor, I was informed that my old supervisor from Illinois was trying to get me fired for personal reasons due to our past personal relationship.
    Can he legally do this?


    Depends. The question is why is trying to get you fired. If it's because you refuse to be sexually intimate with him any longer, that's prohibited sex discrimination. If it's because he's just not comfortable having you around (might he have been married or is now married?) then that's legal.

    Leave a comment:


  • ESteele
    replied
    You had an affair with your former boss from 1996 to 2010. The two of you worked at the same location in and prior to 2007. In and after 2008, you worked in a different state but for the same company.

    If you had a good work record prior to 2007 and have continued to amass a good record since 2008, your documented performance may somewhat insulate you from irrational discipline or discharge. Presumably your current immediate supervisors remain happy with you and do not have any grounds for taking adverse action against you.

    You may want to consider contacting a HR representative (or other management representative responsible for receiving sexual harassment complaints) to complain that your former supervisor-lover is endeavoring to harass you by orchestrating your termination as reprisal for your ending your consensual relationship with him. Such an internal complaint may inure you a greater measure of protection from irrational discharge.

    One caveat: If the company had an anti-fraternization policy during the time you had the affair with your former supervisor, you have also weigh whether essentially admitting to the 1996-2010 relationship would constitute grounds now for discipline, if not discharge.

    Leave a comment:


  • ElleMD
    replied
    This is one of the problems in mixing professional and personal life. Personal relationships are not protected by law so it would be legal to fire you. Call it reverse nepotism if you will. It is no different than if you were a former neighbor, client, platonic friend, or relative. Whether it is a smart business move is an entirely different story and there is a case to be made for both sides. It is however, legal.

    Leave a comment:


  • Betty3
    replied
    In at-will employment you can be terminated at any time for any reason except a reason prohibited by law (ie age, religion, gender..) unless you have a binding employment contract to the contrary.

    This would not be a wrongful termination based on what you posted.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/At-will
    http://employeeissues.com/wrongful_termination.htm

    You don't know that you will be fired/that he will be able to get you fired. You can only do your work to the best of your ability & cause no "problems" etc.

    Leave a comment:

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