6 support-staff employees discharged from a Florida law firm for wearing orange have retained a lawyer and may pursue legal action against their former employer, who allegedly would not allow workers to speak to each other over their cubicle walls, according to Yahoo News.
Attorney Donna Ballman now represents 6 of the 14 terminated and says that they were accused of staging a protest against workplace conditions and then fired soon thereafter.
Ballman said she has attempted to contact her clients' former employer, the Elizabeth R. Wellborn law firm, but the firm has yet to respond.
"If they won't discuss this, we are going to pursue our legal remedies," Ballman said.
Ballman said that Elizabeth Wellborn's husband assembled a group, though not all, of the employees who were wearing orange that day and they were "told that management thought they were wearing orange shirts to protest working conditions, and they should pack their things and leave."
Further, Ballman said the some of the workers may have been wearing orange to protest working conditions in an attempt to mimic uniforms worn in Florida prisoners. Under the supervision of new management Ballman said that they could not speak to coworkers over the walls of their cubicles, not even if it concerned work.
"They couldn't go to the break room and get coffee while on the clock," she said. "There were suddenly lots of new restrictions on them. Some of them were upset about those new rules."
"Firing because people engaged in activities or are suspected of engaging in activities for objecting to working conditions are illegal under the National Labor Relations Act," said Ballman. The National Labor Relations Act protects certain activities with or without a union, and gives employees the right to discuss, comment and complain about working conditions.
In Florida, as in most states, employment is presumed to be at will, which means that unless stated otherwise an employee can be fired for any reason or no reason at all.
Janice Doble, 50, is 1 of Ballman's clients as she worked in the copy room at the Wellman firm. Yet, she said she was wearing orange because she was going to a happy hour with coworkers not in protest of working conditions
"Orange happens to be my favorite color. My patio is orange," Doble told the Florida Sun-Sentinel. "My lipstick was orange today."
Since the firings, 3 of the original 14 have been re-hired. Ballman believes that those 3 may have explained that they were not part of the protests in order to get their jobs back.
The 6 that she represents have each worked for the company for about 6 months to a year.
"Everybody who can be fired for no reason is an 'orange American,'" she said. "Everybody that can be fired for wearing an orange shirt to work should be outraged by this."
When looking at the Wellman firm's response, or lack thereof, to Ballman's repeated attempts to contact it, it seems that Ballman's clients only legal option is to file a wrongful termination suit against their former employer.
Although employment in Florida is at-will, the worker's conduct may be protected by the National Labor Relations Board as well as the constitutional right to free speech.
Here, if the workers were to win a wrongful termination suit it is likely that they would obtain monetary damages as judges are weary to issue injunctions compelling employers to re-hire wrongfully discharged employees. The reasons are simple as the re-hire can result a less than optimal workplace environment.
You May Also Like...
Bankruptcy – Business
Bankruptcy – Personal
Criminal Law – Appellate
Criminal Law – Federal
Criminal Law – State Felony & Misdemeanor
Drunk Driving Defense
Dumb or Weird Laws
GM Ignition Switch
Stryker Hip Replacement
Intellectual Property Law
Labor & Employment Law
Landlord Tenant Law
Personal Injury – Defendant
Personal Injury – Plaintiff
Social Security Disability
Weird Law Friday
Trending Searches#TBT #ThrowbackThursday constitutional law Criminal Law - State Felony & Misdemeanor dangerous or defective products divorce DUI dumb laws estate planning Events that Changed History Family Law FAQ first-amendment product-recall products liability random laws recall safety recall strange laws weird laws