Dr. Derm has a 30-year-old medical assistant who has worked with him for five years. She is under contract and can be terminated within 90 days for almost any nondiscriminatory reason and immediately for “cause.” Reasons of termination for cause include conviction of a crime.
Three months ago, the medical assistant was arrested for beating up her boyfriend with a frying pan. He had numerous cuts and bruises, as well as a broken nose. He nearly lost consciousness. The story was all over the papers in the small town in which Dr. Derm practices. The photos on the Web were frightening. Every time there was mention of the story, Dr. Derm’s name was also discussed as being the employer.
Dr. Derm was very concerned about the negative impact such an employee would have on his practice. He terminated the employee within 48 hours of her arrest. The employee is now waiting for trial and has filed a lawsuit against Dr. Derm for wrongful termination. Did he wrongfully terminate the employee?