Posts Tagged ‘fired’

Sexual harassment in the workplace must be quickly addressed by employees and employers in all cases. However, it is even more important to address where minor employees are involved. In at least one case, the managers of a Dairy Queen did not address the harassment quick enough.

The guardian of a 17-year-old minor has filed a lawsuit against Dairy Queen, claiming the fast food restaurant allowed the teen to be sexually harassed by a co-worker.

Kathryn McCauley, as guardian and next friend of a minor, filed suit against Food Service Holdings Ltd., doing business as Dairy Queen, on Oct. 17 in the Eastern District of Texas, Lufkin Division.

The 17 year old was employed by Dairy Queen in Huntington in June 2010, where she was subjected to discrimination on the basis of her sex, including sexual harassment and retaliation for reporting such harassment, the suit claims.

According to court records, the minor was subjected to a hostile work environment by a co-employee and was told the co-worker would be fired after his 30-day probationary period.

However, McCauley claims that when the probationary period was over, the co-worker was not fired. Instead, the minor was not properly placed on the schedule and given very few hours. The teenager was terminated on Oct. 3, 2010, allegedly for failing to show up to work.

The teen maintains that she was informed that she was not scheduled to work on the date in question and she was really terminated for reporting the sexual harassment.

If you believe you or one of your children has been the subject of sexual harassment in the workplace, speak to an attorney experienced with sexual harassment suits such as Scott Behren and the Behren Law Firm.

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In Tayag v. Lahey Clinic Hospital, Inc., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit found that an employee’s seven-week leave of absence to accompany her husband on a “spiritual healing trip” did not constitute medical care within the meaning of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

In June 2006, employee requested a seven-week leave to assist her husband while he traveled to the Philippines on a “spiritual healing trip.” For this longer leave of absence, Lahey required Tayag to provide a note from her husband’s primary care physician detailing the need for Tayag to accompany him on the trip. Rather than submitting the requested documentation from her husband’s physician, however, Tayag produced a note from her own doctor, which stated that Tayag should receive time off to accompany her husband to the Philippines.

On August 8, 2006, after the Tayags had already left for their trip, Mr. Tayag’s cardiologist submitted a certification form to Lahey indicating that, in fact, Tayag did not need to accompany her husband on the trip. Lahey attempted to contact Tayag to inform her that her leave was not approved, but Tayag did not respond. On August 18, 2006, Lahey terminated Tayag’s employment.

While in the Philippines, Mr. Tayag did not receive any conventional medical treatment. Instead, the Tayags attended Mass, prayed, and spoke with a priest and other pilgrims at the Pilgrimage of Healing Ministry at St. Bartholomew’s Parish. Tayag and her husband also spent time visiting other churches, and seeing family and friends. Tayag claimed that she assisted her husband throughout the trip.

In August 2008, Tayag sued Lahey in District Court, alleging that Lahey terminated her employment in violation of the FMLA. The Court resolved the case in Lahey’s favor, finding that Tayag’s trip was not “protected” under the FMLA because it was effectively a vacation. Tayag appealed to the First Circuit, which reaffirmed that decision, finding that the FMLA does not protect the type of “healing” trip taken by the Tayags.

In deciding this issue, the First Circuit looked to the express language of the statute and found that the concept of “medical care” did not encompass such a trip. The Court then examined the law’s treatment of faith healing, which considers Christian Science practitioners to be healthcare providers to the extent that they are “others capable of providing healthcare services” within the meaning of the regulation. Although Tayag argued that the faith-healing exception is unconstitutional because it distinguishes between different religions, the First Circuit found her briefing on this issue to be so cursory that it considered the argument waived. Accordingly, the Court found that the faith-healing exception did not apply to Tayag’s claim and that the FMLA did not otherwise cover “healing pilgrimages.” Moreover, the First Circuit found that Tayag’s failure to provide adequate certification for her FMLA leave was independently sufficient to affirm the District Court’s decision to award summary judgment in the employer’s favor.

If you require legal assistance with your legal rights under the Family Medical Leave Act, feel free to contact Scott Behren and the Behren Law Firm for a free consultation.

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The Florida Senate and new Florida Gov Rick Scott are now seeking to restrict unemployment benefits to employees calling some recipients of these benefits “slackers and malingerers.”

State Sen. Nancy Detert, filed a bill Monday that would tighten unemployment eligibility, make it easier for businesses to deny benefits and push laid-off workers to take lower-paying jobs after they have received 12 weeks of payments.

The bill would also reduce benefits for workers who’d received severance packages and require first-time claimants to complete a workplace-skills test within 14 days of filing for benefits.

Detert, R-Venice, chairs the Senate’s Commerce and Tourism Committee.
Read the rest of this entry »

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An Orlando woman has teamed up with high-powered attorney Gloria Allred to sue her former employer for gender discrimination and retaliation, after she said she was sexually harassed by managers who commented on her breasts.

Amy-Erin Blakely filed the lawsuit in an Orange County, Florida court on Wednesday and said the harassment at The Devereux Foundation went on for about five years. Blakely managed 900 employees at the nonprofit behavioral health organization that also provides foster and adoptive assistance. Blakely says she worked for the organization in Orlando until she was fired last year after she accused managers of sexual harassment.

“It was very humiliating to know that senior members of our management team would focus on my breasts as opposed to my performance on the job,” said Blakely at a Los Angeles press conference Wednesday.

“She also alleges that someone in management talked about how large her breasts were and that she needed to ‘hide them,’” Allred told the station.

Blakely said she always dressed professionally, was an exemplary worker and had never before been reprimanded. In fact, she said she was promoted and given raises eight times in 13 years. The 43-year-old had risen to the position of Assistant Executive Director, but claims she couldn’t advance any further because her managers said she was “too sensual.”

As many readers of my blog are well aware, sexual harassment in the workplace is prohibited by Florida and Federal law. In addition, if you complain to your employer about sexual harassment in your workplace and are retaliated against or fired, that is simillarly a violation of Federal and Florida law.

If you believe you have been the victim of sexual harassment or retaliation in the workplace, feel free to contact the Behren Law Firm or another attorney experienced in employment law matters.

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