An employee was overheard speaking about a board member, that the board member was a dumba__. The board member became aware of it and wanted to have the employee terminated under the pretense of cutting expenses. Was this legal to use a position as a board member, not a board member that was an officer of the corporation, to retaliate against the employee and have them fired?
Yes, this is legal. In fact, the board member did not even need to use the pretense of budget cuts to fire this employee — he could simply have been let go for saying negative things about a board member.
It is illegal to retaliate against an employee who takes certain legally protected actions in the workplace. Legally protected actions include complaining to a state or federal agency, or to the company, about a violation of law, or a worker safety violation. That was not the case here.
There is no law that prohibits retaliation against an employee for insulting a supervisor, manager or member of the board. In this case, the employee made a serious error, and he has paid for it.
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