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Wrongful Termination Archives

Standard in Title VII Retaliation Case

Mr. Naiel Nassar, who is of Middle Eastern descent, held a faculty position at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (hereinafter "The University") and a staff position at the associated Dallas Parkland Hospital (hereinafter "The Hospital"). Mr. Nassar complained that his University supervisor treated him differently than his colleagues, made derogatory comments and tried to delay his promotion. Mr. Nassar requested to only work at the hospital so he was no longer under the University supervisor. The department chair at the University objected to the request citing an affiliation agreement requiring that all physicians working at the Hospital be faculty members at the University. Without the University's knowledge, Mr. Nassar continued to discuss the plan with the Hospital and was offered a position at the Hospital, if he resigned his faculty position. Mr. Nassar submitted a resignation letter in which he claimed he was giving up his faculty position because of the "harassment and discrimination" by his supervisor. However, the University's department chair then met with the Hospital's Chief Medical Officer and the Hospital revoked its offer of employment.

First Amendment Retaliation

Ms. Karen Owens was a school teacher at Bruce Upper Elementary School for seventeen (17) years until she was fired on February 9, 2010. Ms. Owens suffered neck and back pain for a number of years, and in October 2009, took leave under the Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") to undergo spinal surgery. The principal told Ms. Owens that she could remain on leave until she received her final x-rays. On January 20, 2010, the principal spoke with Ms. Owens to see when she would return to work. Ms. Owens stated that she had a doctor's appointment on February 12, 2010 and if the doctor released her, she may be able to return to work on February 15, 2010. The superintendent sent Ms. Owens a letter stating that her FMLA leave would soon expire and requesting that she provide him with a return date so that her status could be determined. On February 4, 2010, Ms. Owens again spoke to the principal and restated that she had a doctor's appointment later in February. During the same time period, Ms. Owens was in discussions with the principal to secure educational support for her son, a student at the school where she worked. Although some of her son's teachers thought he should receive assistance, the superintendent vetoed the assistance plan. Ms. Owens met with the State Department of Education to complain about the superintendent's failure to provide her son with adequate educational support and subsequently, the State Department ordered the school to provide Ms. Owens son with assistance.

Terminated for Fiancée's behavior

In January of 2011, the US Supreme Court in Thompson v. N.Am. Stainless, LP, 131 S.Ct. 863 (2011), held that a terminated employee, who was fired three weeks after his fiancé filed a sexual harassment claim against the employer, had standing to bring a Title VII retaliation action against the employer.