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Spousal jealousy may lead to illegal discrimination

Some New Yorkers are subjected to illegal discrimination based on gender in the workplace. In some cases, the jealousy of a spouse that leads to disparate treatment by the members of one gender at a company may constitute illegal discrimination, according to a recent case.

The case, which was filed in Pennsylvania, involved a female who worked at a forklift dealership. The president of the company was a man whose wife also worked at the company. The wife was reportedly jealous and did not want her husband working with other women. The woman who worked there was not allowed to speak to the president or to go into his office, and she was eventually fired on the basis of the president's wife's jealousy.

The woman sued the dealership, alleging that her termination because of the wife's jealousy was illegal gender-based employment discrimination. The court agreed, ruling that when jealousy leads to discrimination against workers of an entire class, it may be illegal. In cases where the jealousy has only been in regards to individual workers rather than to entire classes, other courts have found that it would not be illegal.

Employment discrimination is illegal when the discrimination is based on certain protected characteristics, including gender. While workers may be fired at any time, the reasons that employers use to terminate them must not violate public policy or be illegal. Gender discrimination is prohibited under both state and federal law. Workers who believe that they were terminated based on their protected statuses might want to consult with an employment lawyer about what happened to them. If they have valid grounds for claims, the attorney might accept representation of them and fight for their rights to recover damages in subsequent cases against their employers.

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