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Wrongful termination? - Washington, D.C. District of Columbia

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  • Wrongful termination? - Washington, D.C. District of Columbia

    A friend of mine has been employed at a brand new restaurant for about a month. He had been receiving stellar reviews from his employers, with even talk of managerial position.

    About two weeks ago, my friend was hanging out with a half-black coworker. They were discussing whether or not particular women in a magazine were good looking. The coworker asked my friend if he thought one girl was attractive, who is black, to which he replied: no, not really. The coworker asked why, and my friend replied that he is just not attracted to black women. The coworker then again asked why to which my friend replied the same. He again asked why, pressuring for a response, to which my friend said "I don't know, she just looks like a monkey to me." In no way did he intend for this to be a racist remark, but nonetheless he immediately apologized, realizing that his coworker took offense to what he said. His coworker indicated that things were fine between the two of them, but that he needed to be careful of what he was saying. My friend apologized again and they laughed it off together. Never before nor after the fact had my friend said or did anything to indicate that he is in any form or fashion racist.

    Two weeks later my friend returns to the restaurant as a patron. He sat at the bar, where the coworker was stationed, and ordered a glass of water. The coworker replied, "you know you have to pay for that water." My friend said "yes, I know" and then the coworker began acting strange. My friend was sitting next to the owner of the restaurant at the time when he asked his coworker what was wrong and even the owner said the same. The coworker then burst out saying that he constantly offends him and that he is rude and racist, telling the owner that he calls black people monkeys. The owner immediately questioned my friend, to which he tried to explain the context of the situation. The owner went to the manager and while he was gone, the coworker began screaming at my friend, in front of customers about "how he was going to show him who is a monkey" and that he would "slap him 32 times and shove his head into the concrete outside." Of course, my friend was taken aback, but did not say anything of the kind in response.

    The manager approached the two and told them both to calm down. She then told my friend to leave and that they would talk about this another time.

    My friend went into work this morning, as scheduled, and was then threatned again by the same coworker who said he would "kill him." The manager then told my friend he could no longer work there.

    Is this a wrongful termination suit for my friend? Or should he pursue criminal threat charges against the coworker?

  • #2
    There is no wrongful termination here - he could be terminated at any time for any reason except a reason prohibited by law (ie age, gender) or unless he had a bona fide employment contract to the contrary.

    If your friend feels physically threatened by his co worker, he can file a police report.
    Last edited by Betty3; 04-28-2009, 09:23 AM.
    Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

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    • #3
      A "wrongful termination" is a firing that violates law or cba or employment contract. None seem to apply here. Therefore the firing was legal. The "Monkey" comment was just grounds for termination in my view no matter how it was intended


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