In Florida, as well as in other states, employment laws protect both employees and employers. While these laws prohibit terminating an employee for illegal reasons, such as discrimination, they also, in many states, permit employers to fire employees at will, as long as the reasons are legal. Even when a business, company or organization has policies in place for handling the firing of workers and believe they are acting in compliance with employment regulations, they can still face employment litigation if an employee feels that that firing has violated their rights.
According to reports, an organization called InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) is facing a lawsuit for wrongful discharge after having fired one of their workers. The woman reportedly claims her firing was the result of her and her husband’s decision to divorce. She also suggests that IVCF discriminated against her because she had male coworkers who faced similar situations during their employment and were permitted to maintain their positions with the organization.
Although in most cases a person’s personal life cannot be used as a determining factor in their ongoing employment, in this case IVCF reportedly believes that they had the right to fire the woman based on company policy regarding separating and divorcing employees. The policies stipulate requirements for attempted reconciliation and factors to be considered when determining whether or not an employee maintains their employment in those situations.
In cases such as this, it can be helpful for employers to consult with an experienced attorney. A lawyer can help ensure that all personnel decisions are made in accordance with employment laws and defend against potential employment litigation.
Source: MI Live, “Broken marriage led to woman’s unfair firing at Christian nonprofit, lawsuit claims”, John Agar, Oct. 10, 2013