Everyone wants to have a safe workplace. And they should not be punished or treated differently simply because they want to ensure that their company subscribes proper safety protocols. A Grand Rapids television reporter found herself in this position and lost her job because of her concerns.
When Shanna Grove pointed out that her WZZM workplace was not abiding by COVID-19 safety protocols such as wearing masks and quarantining after attending large gatherings, and that male workers received favorable treatment, she was fired. Grove subsequently filed a federal lawsuit in April, contending sex and gender discrimination as well as retaliation for raising concerns.
Non-mask wearers were men
Grove worked at WZZM for almost three years before her termination in mid-February. In her lawsuit, she contends that while the television station had safety rules in place regarding COVID-19, many of those rules were not enforced.
Some male workers failed to abide by them. For example, she noted that because the male photographers at the station failed to wear masks, reporters and anchors were in danger of getting the virus. None of the male workers lost their jobs.
In November, Grove filed a confidential complaint with the station’s parent company, noting the different treatment among male and female employees; the station’s lack of enforcing COVID-19 rules; and alleged comments from the WZZM general manager who referred to her as “entitled” when she raised concerns about symptomatic coworkers in the office.
The lawsuit also notes that the general manager attempted to find out which employee filed the confidential report with its human resources department. The television station fired Grove via Zoom meeting on February 15 a day after a scheduling conflict because she had to euthanize her cat.
People want to work for an understanding employer, one that supports and encourages them; and one that follows rules and treats everyone – no matter what gender, race or religion – fairly and equally.