For some Minnesota residents, changing careers, losing jobs and setting up interviews is very common. When maintaining a job or seeking a new career path, individuals believe that they will be judged by their education and work experience. Such credentials should depict whether or not a person is fit for a position, but in some cases other factors are improperly considered. This could lead to employment discrimination or wrongful termination. Either could lead to a cause of action being filed for damages suffered.
Following accusations of child pornography on his work-issued cellphone, the football coach for Minnesota State in Mankato was fired last May. After he was cleared of these accusations and the charges were dismissed, and arbitrator ruled that he was wrongfully terminated. Furthermore, arbitration also led to the fired football coach to be reinstated to continue his position as football coach at Mankato.
It was determined that returning to his position would help him and his family heal from these events and accusations. Although he took on a position as head coach at Minot State, he believes that leaving the Minot State position and returning to his old one will help him grow.
His wrongful termination stemmed from University staff locating images of his naked children on his work-issued phone. A judge later dismissed these charges and ruled that they were just pictures depicting the playful nature of his children during bath time.
The University issued an apology and released a statement that welcomed him back as head coach. Although he is returning to his position, this does not negate the damages done to his personal and professional reputation. At this time, he has not taken legal action, but he is currently looking at his options to determine what can be done for the damages he suffered.
When an employee is wrongfully terminated, they could file a cause of action against their employer. This could provide the wrongfully terminated employee with compensation for lost wages, back pay, and damages including punitive damages.
When instances of employment discrimination, wrongful termination or a hostile work environment occur, employees should report the situation and have it properly investigated. This could help them establish what the next steps entail.
Source: Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, “After wrongful termination and being cleared of child porn, ex-coach returns to job,” Amy Forliti, April 16, 2014