Employers that think their liability ends when a terminated employee walks out the door better think again. A recent New Jersey case expanded employees’ rights to sue employers for post-termination nonemployment-related conduct.
In the wake of the decision, courts may construe common employer acts—such as opposing a former employee’s application for unemployment benefits—as retaliation.
Husband and wife Fernando and Liliana Roa were fired from LAFE Foods, a New Jersey food distribution company, in August 2003 and October 2003, respectively. The Roas alleged that a LAFE vice president harassed them for refusing to cover up extramarital affairs he had with the wives of two other LAFE employees. Fernando Roa said the VP asked him to tell the VP’s wife that Fernando—not the VP—was the one having the affairs. Fernando refused and eventually told the VP’s wife about the trysts.
The Roas contended that the ...(register to read more)