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Worker who was subjected to GPS tracking alleges wrongful firing

Process is important.

This is true in all sorts of contexts involving human interactions. For our purposes, as an employment law firm, one of the most important of these contexts is when an employer tries to terminate an employee.

In this post, we will take note of a current New York case in which an employee from a state agency has sued his employer for wrongful termination.

The case concerns a man who had worked for the New York Department of Labor for decades. He started working for the agency in 1980 and held various roles.

In 2010, however, the agency fired the man after subjecting him to GPS surveillance on his car. The surveillance was apparently intended to document unauthorized absences.

But the man challenged the surveillance in a lawsuit. He contended that the scope of the surveillance was excessive. It was excessive, he argued, because it extended far beyond work hours.

New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, held for the worker and he got his job back. But then the Department of Labor fired him again for alleged misconduct.

The man contends that the agency merely rubberstamped its earlier findings. He has brought suit again. He contends that the termination was wrongful because the agency failed to genuinely re-evaluate its earlier investigation.

The man is African American, and it is possible that racial discrimination is a factor in the case. Our main point, however, is not so much about race as about process. In simply repeating its earlier firing, the employer in this case seems to have disregarded the direction of the Court of Appeals to conduct a more thorough review of the case.

Source: Courthouse News Service, “State Snooping Produces a Second Lawsuit,” Marlene Kennedy, May 16, 2014

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