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John
John, Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Exclusively practice labor and employment law.
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My son in law has been fired from his job in Wamego, Kansas.

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My son in law has been fired from his job in Wamego, Kansas. His supervisor and boss have been harrassing him for a couple of years (he's worked there 5 years in April 2013). Saying he's stupid, doesn't know anything, ect... Yesterday when he went to work his supervisor yelled at him in front of a customer and 4 other employees about being on welfare and having a cheating wife and being a piece of shit low life who lives in a trailer. Tim, his foreman told him to get his stuff and get the F**K out! My question is Can they do that? I wouldn't go back to that job, but I'd sure like Tim and Todd (Owner of E&R) to know that can't treat someone like that.

EmplmntLaw1 :

Hi, thanks for submitting your question today. I believe I can answer your question today but need some additional information.

EmplmntLaw1 :

First, this is clearly harassment and poor treatment, but does your son in law believe it was on account of any particular thing - such as his age, race, mental or physical disability or religion. Second, is your son in law a member of a union or otherwise have a right to "just cause" employment in a contract or employee handbook?

John and 2 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

Hi, thanks for submitting your question today. I believe I can answer your question today but need some additional information.


First, this is clearly harassment and poor treatment, but does your son in law believe it was on account of any particular thing - such as his age, race, mental or physical disability or religion. Second, is your son in law a member of a union or otherwise have a right to "just cause" employment in a contract or employee handbook?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

He has 2 small children, and has taken off for doctors appointments, etc.. Not all day, and they try to schedule stuff around lunch hours, breaks etc...He also has 2 weeks vacation so he'll take that if he's sick or something. But what jeremy tells me, is he doesn't know what he did. He is a white 32 healthy young man. The owner goes to the same church as Jeremy does. He's a machinist. So no disability's, mental or physical.


 


This is a small shop with 4 or 5 people working in it, including the owner. They are NOT union. I do not know about a employee handbook. But I will find out. He has been there 5 years.


 


*My problem is not them firing him so much as the name calling, harassment. It should not mater where he lives. His family is all back together and when his wife was "cheating" they were separated. They do receive $100 a month with a food card. This is a case of bullying and I'm just heart broke for him.

I see. This is going to be a case of unfair treatment that does not have legal recourse; except to file for unemployment, which he certainly would receive in this scenario. I'll explain further.

Kansas like most states is an employment at will state - meaning you can be disciplined or terminated for any reason that is not otherwise a violation of law. These exceptions are the civil rights protections (e.g., age, race, sex, religion), violations of public policy (e.g., fired for attending jury duty, for refusing to break the law, for reporting illegal activity by the employer (aka a "whistleblower violation"), or having some contractual right to a just cause employment (meaning the employer cannot terminate you without industrial due process - which basically insures a fair and accurate investigation and decision). Without any of these exceptions, courts find that the employer has a legitimate business right to operate its business however it sees fit and the court will not second-guess the employer. These policies and decisions may in fact be awful and clearly not fair or even make good business sense. However, they are not ultimately unlawful.

 

In this scenario what is being alleged is certainly verbal harassment to the point that, if it could be tied to his age, race, disability or gender, it would be considered discrimination and be an exception to the employment at will law. However, even if he could establish discrimination, the discrimination laws do not cover employers this small; the threshold is 15 or more employees. So there is no law that covers this type of harassment and for this small of an employer at this time. Although, it sounds as if he would most definitely qualify for unemployment compensation- thus it certainly would be worth his time to apply for that.

 

 

I believe this answers your question - although it may not give him the recourse you were looking for, it is correct legal information, which is all I can give you. However, if you need clarification or have follow-up questions regarding this matter, I will be happy to continue our conversation – select the Reply to Expert or Continue Conversation button. If you are otherwise satisfied with my response, please leave a positive rating as it is the only way I am able to get credit for my answers. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX wish you all the best.