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Summary Case

Essay by   •  July 31, 2012  •  Essay  •  2,165 Words (9 Pages)  •  1,438 Views

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Summary

Given the complex facts of this case we can provide you with four valid legal actions that you can file against Kid University, Mo and Zakia Huss, and one legal action that you will need to proactively protect yourself against. While all these legal actions are possible, we would like to advise you as to which ones will likely be ruled in your favor.

Wrongful Discharge - You have a strong case against Kid University. We advise that a suit be filed with the courts as quickly as possible.

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress - We recommend that you proceed with caution. There are four elements in this suit that need to be satisfied in order for a decision to be made in your favor. Given that the facts at hand we feel you can only satisfy two of the four elements.

False Imprisonment - A valid legal option but we feel that your facts do not support a positive outcome. We advise against this suit.

Quasi-Contract in order to recover any expenses you occurred in repairing or maintain the house rented from Mo and Zakia Huss. We advise against this action since your monthly rent of $10 will be an obvious signal to the court that this low price was in exchange for you assuming any necessary repairs and maintenance.

Forcible Entry and Detainer that was filed against you. We are fairly certain that the court will find that the Huss' have erroneously filed this against you, but you do need to be proactive and have all of your necessary documents in order.

Facts

Kimberly Gee was hired as director of Kid University, a childcare facility in Johnston, Iowa. She was hired in late August 2003 as an employee at will and paid an hourly wage. H. Nizam, Inc. owned Kid University. Mo Huss was the president of the corporation and not involved in the day-to-day operations of Kid University and his wife, Zakia Huss, was the vice president. A few weeks after her hire Gee and her husband agreed to rent a house owned by the Huss'. The Gees paid $10 a month for a four bedroom and two bathroom house. The house was in obvious disrepair and was rented on the condition that the Gee's make all required repairs at their own expense. Gee's children attended the Kid University day care facility.

On December 1, 2003 Gee was terminated from her employment at Kid University.

Shortly after her employment began, Mo Huss told Gee of his concern that Kid University was not making enough money to justify the size of the staff and encouraged Gee to reduce staff. Gee informed Huss that any further staff reductions would be in violation of Iowa state regulations governing the minimum ratios between staff and children. Huss became increasingly insistent on staff cuts and suggested Gee and her assistant work as staff in the classrooms to maintain the minimum staff-to-child ratios. Gee expressed her concern that that was an unreasonable plan. Gee claims that Huss stated that "What [the department of human services consultant] doesn't know won't hurt her."

On the morning of her termination Gee was handed a written letter listing the reasons for termination and was escorted out of the building. Gee was denied access back into the facility when she tried to collect order her children from the day care center on-site. A confrontation followed and the police were called.

The Huss' also brought a forcible entry and detainer action against the Gees for failing to pay the December rent.

Wrongful Discharge

We advise our client, Kimberly Gee, to sue for wrongful discharge based on the common law protection against wrong discharge for refusing to violate the law. A successful suit will require Gee to prove (Lloyd v. Drake Univ., 686 N.W.2d 225, 228 (Iowa 2004):

* The existence of a public policy that protects the employee's activity;

* The public policy would be weakened by the employee's discharge from employment

* The employee engaged in the protected activity (i.e. refusing to violate a law), and this conduct was the reason the employer discharged the employee; and

* The employer had no overriding business justification for the discharge.

If our client is able to prove these 4 elements then Gee will be entitled to recover for damages caused by her wrongful discharge.

When we look at the first element in our wrongful discharge claim, we look to the presence of a clear and detailed policy in place. In support of Gee's assertion that she was, in fact, discharged in violation of public policy, we look at Iowa Code chapter 237B and Iowa administrative code as establishing the public policies applicable in these circumstances. These codes were established to put standards in place for the protection of children's safety. In these codes it outlines specific student-to-teacher ratios that are required in order to be in accordance with the law. This fulfills our first element in proving wrongful discharge.

Now that we have established a clear and defined public policy to support our claim, we look to see if this public policy would be undermined if the courts didn't enforce it. If the court finds that Gee's firing from Kid University was for refusing to cut staff below the minimum staffing requirements, then such a termination would weaken the public policy. Our second element is met.

The third element is that Gee was fired for refusing to violate a law. There is substantial evidence to support that Gee was fired for this reason. The first fact is that the topic of student-faculty ratios was a constant cause of friction between Gee and the Huss'. The second piece of evidence was during an early November meeting when staff reductions were discussed again. Gee said that Zakia Huss told her that, "What the department of human services consultant doesn't know, won't hurt her." At a later November meeting, Gee refused once again to cut staff and to work as an in-class teacher. She refused and was fired shortly after on December 1, 2003. Although the facts do not contain evidence that the Huss' specifically told Gee to cut staff below the required ratio, the sequence of events prior to Gee's termination should stand as evidence that the Huss's fired Gee for refusing to cut staff and ultimately, violate a law.

The final element we look at under this type of wrongful discharge is if there was a lack of other justification for Gee's termination. In the case Fitzgerald vs. Salsbury Chemical (613 N.W.2d at

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