Only in America,can you work 35 years for the same employer and be fired in an instant with no severance pay, no retirement party, and no benefits whatsoever. That’s the case of Rowena Martin vs St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital of Houston.
Ms. Martin was a hard-working, loyal employee of the hospital for 35 years. She won numerous awards and received numerous of bonuses for her stellar performance.She got a new supervisor and a new manager, and less than a year later, they had her fired. It’s a shame that all it takes is a new supervisor who doesn’t like you, and a large organization will support them in throwing you out the door after so many years of loyal service. That’s what happened in this case.
Ms. Martin worked in hospital admissions where she interviewed new patients at the hospital. She did a fine job and was a very reliable employee. Unfortunately, as the years went on, she had illnesses which required medication. One side effect of her medication is that she occasionally made errors when doing patient charts. The errors were minor and no one ever suffered from them, but due to her medical condition, her work was no longer perfect all the time.. Her new manager and supervisor required perfection and would not accommodate the aging and medicated Ms. Martin, even though her work was still excellent.She was fired on April 30 2012, and we filed a discrimination charge on her behalf with the EEOC in August 2012. Since that time, the EEOC released the case so that Ms. Martin can file a lawsuit.
Our law firm is now preparing her lawsuit for federal court, where a jury will decide if it was reasonable for St. Luke’s to fire her. In my view, this case represents a sad commentary on American law, in that an employer can fire someone like this with so many years of dedicated service, and give them absolutely no severance pay. In most countries of the world, severance pay is required by law.
The lawsuit is expected to be filed in March 2013 in U.S. District Court.