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Sterling Employment Law

Workers consider wrongful termination suits after dismissal en masse

Some employment law stories are just strange. Michigan readers hear the details of what happened and think, "How could the employer even think that was okay?" The recent case of 14 office workers who were dismissed en masse for complaining about their working conditions is one such story.

The workers, who are now considering suing for wrongful termination, all worked in the same office. Although we have only heard their side of the story, it sounds like a very strict and harsh place to work -- they were not allowed to talk to each other in their cubicles and could not go to the break room to get coffee while they were on the clock.

If that was the worst of it, it might not be so bad. But it isn't.

On March 16, the 14 workers were summarily dismissed, they say, without any sort of explanation. Their theory is that they were fired because they all wore orange shirts to protest the new rules (orange to mimic the color worn by prison inmates).

The office where the employees worked would not comment on the matter.

Since we do not know all the facts and are only working with one side of the story, we cannot presume to know that we know what happened here. However, it does seem fair to say that it was a good idea for these workers to investigate whether they have a cause of action against their former employer. If an employer wants to be harsh, strict and run a tight ship, that's fine -- as long as by doing so he or she is not violating any employment laws.

Source: ABC News, "Fired Orange Workers Couldn't Speak Over Cubicle Walls?" Susanna Kim, March 27, 2012

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