They say no good deed goes unpunished. That’s what’s usually at the heart of wrongful termination cases. An employee turns whistleblower against discrimination, unsafe working conditions or sexual harassment, and the employer retaliates by firing the worker, denying a promotion or adjusting the schedule.
And that was certainly the case for one New York fast food employee. At first that is. The McDonald’s worker repeatedly tried to warn his superiors about a dangerous gas leak he’d discovered at the restaurant. Over and over again, they ignored his pleas, so he did the right thing and took the matter to the fire department. Local firefighters and law enforcement agreed with the employee’s assessment and shut the restaurant down for one night.
Meanwhile, two of the employee’s supervisors took him to the side and fired him for blowing the whistle. The New York Attorney General’s office launched an investigation into the case and found that the owner of the McDonald’s had violated labor laws by firing the employee for reporting a situation that could have posed a significant risk to the public. The employer agreed to compensate the employee $10,000, which equals about a year and a half of pay.
Without the civil courts, employees like this would normally have no recourse. They’d have to accept their fate and probably never speak out against an injustice at work again. Luckily, the civil courts don’t care about your social status or how much you make per year. In court, this employee and his boss would be on equal legal footing.
If you feel you’ve been wrongfully terminated, you have the same rights. A New York attorney can look at your case and may be able to help you fight for compensation.
Source: syracuse.com, “McDonald's restaurant to pay $10,000 to employee fired for reporting gas leak: In business,” Rick Moriarty, June 18, 2014