There are many things to be concerned about during the process of ending a marriage. Whether or not one’s job is secure should not be one of those concerns. One state recently examined the issue, and their Supreme Court ruled that divorce should not be used as grounds for termination from employment. The case could have far-ranging effects, including for spouses in Arizona who are preparing to divorce but are worried about their job security as they transition through this challenging time.
The case was brought by a man who worked as a supervisor for a Rescue Squad for 17 years. He was married to a woman who worked for the same organization, and began an affair with a volunteer who worked under his supervision. When the wife found out about that affair, things became understandably tense both at home and on the job.
Both the husband and wife approached management separately to discuss the matter. The man asked if his job would be secure as he moved through the divorce process, and was told that it would depend on how things “shook out.” When he moved out of the family home, he went to his supervisor to pass that information along. The matter was then brought to the attention of the board, and the man was fired.
He took the case to court, but it was dismissed at the trial court level. The appellate court ruled that being in the process of divorce should be considered part of an individual’s marital status. Because marital status is a protected condition under employment law, the state’s Supreme Court ruled that the man should not have been fired based on the fact that he was divorcing. That leaves him free to pursue the matter in the lower court, and to ask for remuneration for the loss of his job. For those in Arizona who hold similar concerns about how a divorce could impact their job security, this case could provide guidance in the matter.
Source: philly.com, “Divorce no reason to be fired, N.J. justices rule“, Michael Boren, June 21, 2016