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Public official sues school system for wrongful termination

A current county treasurer filed two lawsuits against her former employer claiming that she suffered wrongful termination as a public school food service director. The woman claimed that slander was the cause of her termination. Specifically she is claiming that the owner of a small business she dealt with slandered her maliciously by spreading harmful untruths about her in an attempt to damage her career. She is seeking an award of damages brought about by the company owner. The owner denies the claim and states that the only time he spoke of the former director’s work was when there were inconsistencies in payment receipts during their business engagements.

Fighting a wrongful termination can be an uphill battle, and it can seem like everyone is against you when it comes to taking your former employer to court. The stresses of losing a job are high, and a lawsuit can only exacerbate this stress. Defending your rights, however, is extremely important, and working with an attorney can help ensure you are protected throughout the process.

In the second lawsuit, the former director sued the school system claiming that her termination was wrongful and that she was due damages and compensation for wages lost during unemployment after being fired. The school system’s attorney has said that her client was never properly served, that the former director was not terminated but resigned and signed a settlement agreement not to sue her former employer on any grounds.

This story takes place in Montana, and every state except for Montana is an “at-will” employment state. This includes California, and this means that an employer can fire one of its employees at any time without giving just cause. This makes it harder to prove wrongful termination, but not impossible. However, factors such as discrimination based on race, religion, sex, age, the violation of the terms of a contract and the inhibition of an employee’s rights, are all grounds for a wrongful termination claim.

Source: The Missoulian, “Ravalli County treasure sued Missoula schools for wrongful discharge,” David Erickson, Jan. 24, 2014

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