Sheehan & Associates, P.L.C.

Judge dismisses employment lawsuit against county executive

Employers in Michigan know that for good reason it is sometimes necessary to terminate a worker's employment. Common reasons for firing an employee include failing to meet production goals, workplace misconduct and employee theft, but it may also be necessary to let an employee go because of budgetary reasons.

In any one of these instances, it is possible for an employer to be accused of discrimination or retaliation, even if the allegations are far from the truth.

Recently a lawsuit filed by a former employee of Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano was dismissed. The former employee, who worked for the county as a photographer and graphic designer, claimed that he was retaliated against for refusing to do political work.

A judge disagreed, however, finding that the plaintiff's employment was terminated for budgetary reasons. He and 12 other people were reportedly selected for discharge by a party not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

Those who were named as defendants were Ficano, one of his fundraisers and a former director of communications.

While the judge ruled that the allegations were unfounded, an appeal may be in the works.

Michigan business owners can take steps to prevent employee-related disputes by working with an attorney to draft solid employment agreements. Understanding current employment law is also important in preventing the need for time-consuming litigation.

If an employer has been accused of a violation such as wrongful discharge, discrimination or workplace harassment, then speaking with a business law attorney is likely the best step in the right direction.

Source: The Detroit News, "Suit alleging Ficano fired employee for refusing to do political work dismissed," Christine McDonald, Oct. 10, 2013

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