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Michigan hospital ordered to pay for wrongful termination claim

Even if an employer believes that an employee acted or behaved wrongly, the company still must follow outlined procedures related to any such encroachment of its policy. A Michigan woman claims that she was the victim of a wrongful termination after her employer failed to do just that. She recently received compensation for her claim.

Around the time that she lost her job, a family member was undergoing treatment at the Michigan hospital where she worked. The hospital alleged that wrongfully obtained the medical records for that family member. While her actions violated HIPAA, she claims that they did not call for her immediate termination.

Instead, she pointed to the employee handbook that outlined a form of progressive discipline. Instead of firing her, that policy called for increasing discipline for any perceived offenses. She says that this policy was ignored, and that she believes racism and a feud with a supervisor may have played a role in her discharge.

Although jurors did not agree that this Michigan hospital had demonstrated racial discrimination in this termination, it appears that they did agree that she should not have been fired. For her wrongful termination claim, she was awarded $183,000, which could potentially include figures for lost pay and any pain and suffering that she may have experienced as a result of losing her job. For individuals who have lost their job and subsequently their income due to being wrongfully fired, it can be beneficial to be aware of company policy concerning discipline over possible encroachment of workplace rules or policy.

Source: mlive.com, "Jurors order Hurley to pay $183,000 in wrongful termination case", Gary Ridley, June 10, 2014

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