Friday, July 13, 2012

Is Your Job Too Hard? File a Lawsuit! - COTW #100

Cue the confetti - we have hit Lawffice Space employment law Case of the Week #100! And, it's a great case of the week. It might be one of the most ridiculous employment law cases ever . . . but maybe we shouldn't jump to conclusions.

The case is Armstrong v. I-Behavior, Inc. (complaint here). According to Above the Law:
Accountant Tammy Armstrong is claiming wrongful termination and intentional infliction of emotional distress because her employer asked her to do a lot of work. She also wants to be paid overtime because her employer had the audacity to claim her as a salaried worker and then paid her a salary. Basically, if she wins, then every single junior office worker in law or finance should be able to sue their employers.
And there's some support for that description. It's hard to believe that a "Senior Accountant" is not an exempt employee, and her allegations do appear to allege constructive discharge because her job was too hard. For example:
On August 2, 2011, fearing that the increasing stress and pressure placed on her by Defendant would cause her further and more severe heart problems, Ms. Armstrong was forced to resign her position in what amounted to a constructive discharge.
But let's give Ms. Armstrong the benefit of the doubt here. She also alleges that she was subjected to "verbal abuse" and "assault." She also claims her heart problems resulted in two trips to the emergency room, and her employer refused to engage in the "interactive process."

Sure, "working too hard" sounds like an awful basis for a lawsuit. But if she was indeed verbally abused and assaulted . . . well, that doesn't sound so ridiculous. And, if she has a serious heart condition, then her employer probably does have an obligation to engage in the interactive process. That doesn't mean they have to give her the accommodation she wants (or any accommodation for that matter), but they should at least attempt to resolve the problem.

I'm going to reserve judgment on this one . . . .