Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Sue the Bastards

In this installment:  a jilted lover gets fired, a girl finds out her brother receives a bigger allowance, and a prison inmate wants his credits back.

Dear STB:
For about a year, I dated my supervisor at work.  I’m single and he’s married with two kids, but he promised me he would leave his wife.  I finally realized it was never going to happen and dumped him three months ago.  Since that time, he has been very formal with me at work, but I can’t honestly say he’s treated me unfairly.  In fact, he’s shown me nothing but courtesy and professionalism.  Still, the breakup has been very hard on me, and I’ve been missing a lot of work due to depression.   He has not been sympathetic to me on this.   Last month he wrote me up for what he calls “Mondayitis and Fridayitis,” which was his way of saying that I call in sick a lot on Mondays and Fridays.  But after the warning, my depression only got worse, and so did my attendance.  Last week he fired me.  Can I sue?
--Terminated in Tallahassee

Dear Terminated:
Oh, boy, can you.  Technically speaking, it doesn’t matter whether your boss treated you unfairly from a work standpoint.  Relationships of this nature are about power.   He had it.  You didn’t.   You are a victim.   One might argue that you made your own choices here, since you knew he was married when you started dating him.  And obviously, you made a decision to accept the fact that you would be dating a supervisor, despite all the danger that kind of relationship entails.  It doesn’t matter.  He crossed a line.  Further, you didn’t say whether you sought medical attention for your depression or asked for any kind of workplace medical accommodation for it, to which you would be entitled under the law.  But whether you did or you didn’t explore that avenue prior to termination, a legal demand letter mentioning federal health laws usually makes employers cringe with fear.  The company likely will settle with you quickly rather than let this one go to a judge or jury.  By all means:  sue the bastard, and with gusto.

Dear STB:
Shortly after my tenth birthday, I learned that my older brother, who’s eleven, gets more household allowance than I do.   I confronted my parents on this.  They didn’t even deny it.  They pointed out that he mows the lawn, trims the hedges, clips around the driveway, takes out the trash, and so on, while as a girl, my dishwashing and housecleaning chores require less physical labor.  But I don’t think that’s fair.  In fact, I added up the time spent doing chores, and I found I devote at least 15 more minutes every day to tasks around the house than he does—and for less money!  How is that fair?  Can I sue?
--Disrespected in Des Moines

Dear Disrespected:
This is an emerging area of the law that has not been well litigated.  But you are not alone in your situation.  Studies have shown that girls in the home typically have the same experience as you:  they work more hours than boys, for less money.   Some activists have pointed out recently that such discrimination paves the way for a lifetime of pay disparity, and there’s been talk about introducing legislation to address that.   While the outcome of your case would be uncertain, this dispute is ripe for litigation.  I say, sue the bastards.

Dear STB:
I’m in prison with about eight more years to go on a drug rap.  I haven’t gotten into any trouble, but the man won’t let me have any more good conduct credits because they say I’m in a gang.  But they didn’t even complain about it until just recently, after some kind of new law was passed about inmates having gang affiliations.  How is it I could get credits before the law, but can’t get them now, even though I’m not doing anything different?  It doesn’t seem fair that they can suddenly start punishing me for refusing to give up my friends, when they had no problem with it before.
--Stymied in San Quentin

Dear Stymied:
Since you were already in a gang before you went to prison, you can probably make a case that they’re punishing you for something that wasn’t illegal at the time you did it.  However, in light of the fact that you could resign from the gang today and start getting your credits again, your case is fairly weak.  That said, you’re not going anywhere, and a lawsuit is a good way to pass the time while infuriating your warden and creating a major nuisance for the corrections department.  Such litigation would also have the benefit of providing gainful employment for the corrections lawyers who’d have to defend the state against your lawsuit.  Paying their legal fees is as good a way to spend tax money as some of the other crap it gets wasted on.  So go ahead, sue the bastards.

The Sue the Bastards blog is offered as satire only.  The author is not a lawyer, has received no legal education, and specifically disavows that this blog constitutes legal advice or should be followed as such.  The author does state that the need to include such a disclaimer proves a point about the litigious nature of our society.  So there.

If you’d like to see more writing along these lines, check out the novel Messages, which shows the same degree of respect to the news industry.


©2014 by Forrest Carr.  All rights reserved.

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