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Possible case of wrongful termination in fast food firing

The relationship between an employer and his or her employees can sometimes be a delicate matter. A good employer seeks to provide a comfortable working environment for staff, but must balance employee rights with the needs of the business. A business owner in the Maritimes may be facing a wrongful termination suit after dismissing a teenage member of his staff.

On Sept. 14, 2016, a 17-year old employee of a McDonald's in Halifax, NS, was let go from his job. The reasons he was given cited a scheduling issue and the sudden media attention surrounding the young man. Two days prior to his termination, the teenager made headlines for becoming the first transgender player on his high school football team, with media outlets from Ontario to B.C., and even down in the United States, picking up the story.

The owner of the restaurant issued a statement denying the allegations regarding the reasons for the teenager's dismissal. He claimed to operate a workplace that embraces diversity. However, he did not deny the dismissal took place. The young man believed the scheduling issue had been cleared up some two weeks prior to his being let go. His mother is currently considering bringing a wrongful termination suit against the owner.

If the employee and his family do proceed with a case against his former employer, they will have to prove that the reasons for terminating his job were unjust. Conversely, the owner of the McDonald's will need to show he was doing what was best for his business, and did not violate the rights of the young man. For those dealing with a potential case of wrongful termination, the issue is not always clear-cut. Whether you're an employee or an employer, consulting with an attorney who handles cases like this in Ontario may help you decide how to proceed.

Source: Truro Daily News, "Halifax trans football player says'media attention' a reason for McDonald's firing", Haley Ryan, Sept. 22, 2016

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