Articles Posted in Wrongful Termination

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) claims a Kmart Super Center in Norfolk, Virginia, fired a store greeter because he used a cane, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In a lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, the EEOC alleges that the employee used a cane to walk and stand due to his spinal stenosis, a physical impairment of his back. His back problems did not prevent him from performing his duties as a greeter. Nevertheless, the suit claims, when he was observed using the cane, Kmart terminated his employment.

Prior to terminating the employee, Kmart allegedly refused to allow him to use the cane, even though his condition made it difficult to stand or walk without one, and his job required both. The EEOC filed the lawsuit only after Kmart refused to settle.

The EEOC is seeking most of the remedies permitted under the ADA, including kmart-logo.jpgreinstatement of the employee’s job (or placement into a substantially equivalent position), back pay, compensatory damages, and punitive damages for intentional discrimination. The EEOC is also seeking an injunction (as it usually does in the ADA cases it brings) prohibiting discriminatory practices and compelling Kmart to adopt and execute a variety of policies, practices, and training programs to clarify to their employees and the general public that Kmart will takes steps to ensure it does not discriminate against persons with disabilities.

Proving once again that no good deed goes unpunished, a former employee of BB&T Insurance Services to whom BB&T graciously paid 30 days of severance pay despite terminating his employment for cause–and apparently without requiring the employee to sign a release–sued the company for wrongful termination. On June 17, 2009, however, Judge Wilson of the Western District of Virginia in Harrisonburg had “no hesitancy” in tossing out the case on summary judgment.

The employee’s job duties involved identifying, contacting, and providing services to existing and potential new insurance customers. To assist him in performing those duties, BB&T allowed him to use a company laptop with access to confidential files on the company’s network. At the time of his termination, the employee had 8 years’ worth of sensitive client information stored on his laptop.

While traveling, the employee left the laptop unattended overnight in his vehicle while it was parked in a hotel parking lot. It was stolen. When BB&T learned of the theft, it notifiedlaptop.jpg those of its clients affected by the data breach and offered them a credit-monitoring service. These programs cost the company over $24,000.

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