Should workers who speak out about gender inequality be silenced by being fired? A well-known California women’s basketball coach who retired in April is still awaiting word about her wrongful termination employment case after she was allegedly fired for complaining about working conditions. The woman, who had been employed by San Diego State University, had signed a five-year contract extension less than a year before she claims she was forced to retire. She is also accused of striking her assistant coach during a game in February.
The woman says she simply got caught up in the heat of the game during the Feb. 13 contest, when she slapped the man’s clipboard and upper arm. Like many others in her profession, the woman claims that she simply became passionate about the outcome of the game and did not intend to harm her subordinate.
The woman was simply forced to resign instead of being given the opportunity to go through a disciplinary process. In addition, it appears that the university used the allegations of physical contact to fire the woman because she dared to speak out about gender inequality at the school. The coach, who considers herself a whistleblower, was outspoken about the fact that the women’s basketball team was not treated fairly, receiving inadequate equipment, practice space and other resources.
Now, the allegations are affecting the woman’s ability to find another job. As a result, she decided to file a wrongful termination suit against her formal employer. Even though the woman had been a top-performing employee, leading her team to a conference championship in 2012, her employer still did not value her enough to treat her with the respect she deserved.
Workers who have a proven track record of excellence do not deserve to be fired because of a single mistake. In addition, all workers deserve to speak out about unethical or unfair practices at their workplace, especially if they think they are not being heard. This does not permit employers to simply fire workers without just cause. California employment attorneys help victims of retaliation and wrongful termination pursue the money and professional respect they deserve.
www.thedailyaztec.com, “Former basketball coach claims firing was retaliation” Adam Burkhart, Oct. 29, 2013