Legal Eagle Eye Newsletter for the Nursing Profession (6)3 Mar 98

 

Quick Summary: A nurse probationary hire was terminated for sexual harassment of other employees.  He demanded to know the names of his accusers and wanted to confront them.

His employer had the right to refuse to divulge this information.   SUPREME COURT OF WYOMING, 1997.

 

   When the nurse was hired, the administrator of the nursing home made it clear to him that the employer’s policy, as set forth in the employee handbook, was that all newly-hired nursing personnel were considered "at-will" employees while serving out a ninety-day probationary period.

   The nurse was dropped two months into his probationary period, over accusations of sexual harassment. He sued for wrongful termination, civil conspiracy and breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing between employer and employee.

   The Supreme Court of Wyoming ruled because he was an "at-will" employee, he had no right to sue, even if he was abruptly, arbitrarily or improperly discharged, and even if he had suffered adverse economic or social repercussions from being fired.

   Because he was still in his probationary period it was not necessary for the court to weigh whether the allegations of sexual harassment were true. The court ruled the employer could discontinue his employment during the probationary period without the employer offering any justification. Townsend vs. Living Centers Rocky Mountain, Inc., 947 P. 2d 1297 (Wyo., 1997).