Employers can fire at will employees for almost any reason; however, there are certain situations where they cannot. Employers in Indiana cannot fire employees for discriminatory reasons or in retaliation against the employee. When employees are fired for these reasons, a wrongful dismissal has taken place.
When wrongful termination occurs, the employee can be compensated for any losses suffered. However, sometimes a wrongful termination can lead to more than just monetary damages. A recent case highlights how easily this type of discrimination can damage people's reputations and ruin their professional lives.
It all started when the former chief medical officer at County Harbor-UCLA Medical Center was placed on paid administrative leave last fall. Since that time, he has been forced to stay home during working hours. While details have not been made public, the man claims that he was wrongfully dismissed from his job. Furthermore, the man expects that he will shortly be terminated from his position altogether.
As a result, the individual filed a lawsuit against two county officials from the hospital on June 6. In the lawsuit, the man claims that the officials leaked information about his wrongful departure to the media. The media then ran stories, which included defamatory and untrue statements about the man and his job performance.
These false stories allegedly hurt the man's reputation with his patients and in the general medical community. They made it appear as if he had done something wrong, even though he was apparently dismissed for personal issues.
These statements, along with the dismissal, could make it very difficult for the man to find work in the future. The man is suing for $50 million for the damages to his reputation from the dismissal. Hopefully, the will find some sort of solace in the law.
Source: Daily Breeze, "Former Harbor-UCLA medical chief files lawsuit," Kristen S. Agostoni, July 8, 2012