There is a young man who is like a son to me. I’ve known him for over two years. He’s extremely intelligent and creative though a bit socially awkward. He’s 23 years old and after graduating from the Job Corps he went to work in retail.
About a month ago he had an on the job accident, a ladder fell on his head. He went to the hospital for a CT scan. There was no injury from the ladder, but they did find a mass in his brain and an MRI was scheduled. Just a few days later he was fired for some bullshit reason. According to the Mississippi Bar Association :
Mississippi law follows the “employment at will” doctrine, which gives an employer the right to dismiss for any reason an employee that was hired for a period of time or an indefinite term. However, both the Mississippi Supreme Court and new federal laws have clearly defined specific instances where an employee’s firing is wrongful or illegal.
One of the stipulations is:
Mississippi’s high court has ruled that if a company creates procedures that employers must follow in terminating an employee and outlines those steps in the employee handbook or guidance policy, supervisors must follow them. In addition, anyone employed for a definite term, including through a written contract, cannot be fired at will. In such a case, the employer must show just cause for terminating the employee before the term expires.
In the case of my friend there were procedures in place that were not followed and we believe he was wrongfully terminated. Quite frankly I think he was fired because 1) he filed a worker’s comp claim and 2)he has a serious medical issue, but here’s the dilemma: it was a part time retail job with low wages so guess what, we can’t find an attorney interested in taking on the case. You can’t sue without an attorney, it wouldn’t be possible to win and even if he did win it probably wouldn’t be much.
You might be thinking, he’s young, he can get another job. Sure, eventually he might find something but it’s hard when Harrison County’s unemployment rate for April was 7.9% and living wage jobs for young inexperienced workers are scarce. What does he do in the mean time?
Right now it’s a mute point. He’s laying in the hospital, partially paralyzed after brain surgery to remove the tumor. It will be a while before he’s back on his feet. Hopefully his hair will grow out fast enough to cover the scar so that future employers will not be afraid to hire him. Hopefully he’ll be able to walk and talk and find a job that will pay enough to cover the thousands of dollars of medical care he will owe because he had no insurance…. But that’s another rant in and of itself.