Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Wrongful Termination In Florida

On June 8th, Jason Kinzer was the captain of an Allegiant Air jet with 141 passengers scheduled to fly from St. Petersburg, Florida, to Hagestown, Maryland. A few minutes after takeoff, Kinzer said that flight attendants called the cockpit to report the smell of smoke. This prompted him to declare an emergency and return to the airport. Kinzer told airport officials he planned to evacuate the plane after a fire-and-rescue worker detected smoke coming from one of the two engines on the McDonnell Doulas MD-80, a transcript of airport transmissions showed.

However, indicated on a July 23rd termination letter, Allegiant chief pilot Mark Grock told Kinzer that he “ordered an evacuation that was entirely unwarranted and… compromised the safety of your crew and your passengers and led directly to the injuries.” When Kinzer ordered the passengers to evacuate, several passengers and one flight attendant were injured allegiant reported.

Furthermore, evacuations are expensive for airlines. Allegiant declined to report how much it would cost to reinstall the emergency shuts on Kinzer’s plane, but after a JetBlue flight attendant intentionally deployed a slide in 2010, a police report said replacing the chute cost more than $25,000. That was only one slide and the plane is exceptionally smaller than Kinzer’s. 

Kinzer said he first learned of his dismissal in an earlier phone call during which a personnel staffer said he was being fired because the flight was one of several incidents that brought negative attention to Allegiant. He did not record the call, and Allegiant spokeswoman Kimberly Schaefer disputed that the airline would fire someone over an issue of “public perception.” She said terminations are made only after thorough investigations.

The company “values the safety of our passengers and crew above all else,” Schaefer said. “Allegiant is a safe airline.”

The 43-year-old pilot says Allegiant is putting profits above safety. Allegiant says the evacuation was unnecessary and put passengers at risk—several were injured sliding down inflatable escape chutes [1].

Wrongful Termination In Florida Law
The term wrongful termination means that an employer has fired or laid off an employee for illegal reasons in the eyes of the law. Some of these reasons include:
  Firing in violation of federal and state anti-discrimination laws
  Firing as a form of sexual harassment
  Firing in violation or oral and written employment agreements
  Firing in violation of labor laws, including collective bargaining laws
  Firing in for the employee’s having filed a complaint or claim against the employer. 

Many of these violations carry statutory penalties, while others will result in the employer’s payment of damages based on the terminated employee’s lost wages and other expenses. Certain wrongful termination cases may raise the likelihood that the employer pay punitive damages to the terminated employee, while other cases may carry the potential of holding more than one wrongdoer responsible for the damages [2]. 

Although many employment relationshipsare “at-will,” meaning that either the employer or the employee may terminate the relationship at any time with or without reason that does not mean that employers can act in a discriminatory manner. If an employer terminates an employee, even one who is “at-will,” in violation of federal, state, or local anti-discrimination laws such as firing on the bases of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, disability, pregnancy and age, it can face serious legal troubles.

Additionally, as the case with the mentioned story, not all wrongful termination claims are discrimination-based. If an employee is given a contract of employment, either expressly or implied, and is termination before the expiration of, and in violation of, that contract, he or she may be able to bring a claim for wrongful discharge and breach of employment contract [3].

Dolman Law Group

If you believe that your employer has treated you unlawfully or unfairly in any way, you should never hesitate to consult with an experience employment law attorney to discuss your situation. Employees should never have to deal with wrongful termination or any other type of illegal actions in the workplace. Victims of such actions have legal recourse under employment laws to receive compensation for their suffering. 

Whether you want to file a claim with the state, file a lawsuit, or simply want to discuss your situation, the attorney at the Dolman Law Group are here to help. Our legal team has extensive experience in all areas of employment law and are committed to holding employers accountable for violations. Consultations are free and we will not collect a fee unless you are able to recover in your case. Please call our Clearwater office today at (727) 451-6900.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, Florida 33765
(727) 451-6900