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TexLaw
TexLaw, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 4430
Experience:  Contracts, Wrongful termination and discrimination
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We have an employee who worked for 17 days. He phoned in sick

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We have an employee who worked for 17 days. He phoned in sick today, second time within this time frame. We told him to come in and pick up his final paycheck (he was still on probation with this job). He text messaged my husband, with details about he has 78 hours of taped conversation and photos of every square inch of our place. He said that he is going to bring a lawsuit against us for slander, prejudice and hazardous work areas, as well as other things. He also says he has other former employees who will be his witnesses. Where do we stand?
Hi,

Thank you for contacting us.

I need to know more information in order to help you.

Do you have any idea of whether there is any truth to his accusations?

Also, in what state are you located?

Finally, has he demanded anything from you?

I look forward to hearing back from you.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


We are in Wyoming. He says my husband is Anti-Government and is racist. As far as I know, we still have free speech in this country. My husband does get vocal at times.


The hazardous work areas he is referring to is our machine area. My husband has a separate work area, which is off-limits to all. It has several machines - lathes, drill presses, etc, which are for his hobbies. We are a small Ma & Pa business, selling servicing hot tubs and mowing lawns. All he has said is that he will take us to the NAACP and the labor boards. He said we MADE him purchase his own tools (which he never brought in to use). He said he is going to sue us and take us for everything we have.

I see. A few more questions:

1. Was he of a different race than you and your husband?

2. Was there anything ever said to him that might be considered as racial discrimination?

3. The employees are not permitted into the machine area? Is this area kept off limits with a locked door?

4. How many employees do you have in total?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.


This young man is not a different race than us. When the race topic came about, it was more of a joke. He was going through a bunch of racial slurs and others were surprised. I believe he was trying to goad my husband into saying something.


The machine area doe not have a locked door, but a sign. We have only 4 employees.

OK.

Thank you for that response.

Under these circumstances, this ex-employee does not have a legitimate claim against you.

OSHA regulations regarding the machines do not apply to non-work machines which are off limits, and the regulations do not apply to a business with under 10 employees. Further, if there were no injuries, then there is no basis on which to make an unsafe work place claim.

In regard to the potential claim of racism, this is only illegal when it is the basis for discrimination in employment. It is very hard for a person who is of the same race to claim racial discrimination, especially under circumstances such as here where he is actually the one who started the conversation. Further, the basis of the discrimination claim must be that an adverse employment action was taken against him on the basis of race.

Because he was terminated for taking too many sick days, and because he does not have any basis on which to say that this was a cover up to fire him based on his race, then he does not even have standing to bring a claim against you for this.

If he attempts to bring a claim, you will be able to have it dismissed almost immediately.

Please let me know if you have any further questions. Please also kindly consider rating my answer positively so that I am compensated by the website for my work on your question. Rating positively does not cause an additional charge and does not prevent us from further discussing your questions.

Best Regards,
ZDN
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