Anyone who has been fired from a job may feel that the former employer did something unfair. Generally, under Florida law, an employer really does not always have to have a reason to fire a worker. However, state and federal laws do not give companies free reign to fire someone for unlawful purposes. Discrimination, exercising a legal right and other public policy issues may give a fired worker a claim for wrongful termination after being fired in Florida.
Recently, a school bus driver in the Pacific Northwest raised an interesting issue in a wrongful termination notice of claim. The former driver says that she was unlawfully fired in late October after she says that she complained about unsafe conditions at a location used as a school bus stop.
The nine-year veteran bus driver says that she was required to pick up and drop off a 6-year-old child on a highly traveled street with a posted speed limit of 55 miles per hour. She says the location of the stop did not provide cross traffic with proper sight lines to see the extended stop arm on the school bus, placing young children in danger. She says that she raised the issue with the school district, seeking to resolve the issue. But, she claims that she was fired for complaining about the dangerous situation.
Her notice of claim says that two weeks before the bus driver was fired the superintendant sent an email to the school's lawyer requesting that a letter of warning, a letter of suspension and a termination letter all be drafted to get rid of the bus driver. Meanwhile, the bus driver was led to believe that the issue was still being considered.
She says that employment laws in her state protect employees who raise complaints about workplace safety and has notified the school district of her intent to sue for wrongful termination.
The district essentially claims that the driver was fired for insubordination. Despite the driver's assertion that the stop was a new addition to the route, the superintendant says that it has been used for 30 years. School officials claim the location is safe, and further allege that the bus driver was fired for failing to follow directives from the school district.
Source: The Reflector, "Fired Woodland school bus driver files tort claim against district," Devin Higgins, Jan. 9, 2013