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Employees should not be fired because of divorce, court says

Going through the end of a marriage will require some financial adjustments for most Maryland spouses. Even so, few worry that their job security will suffer as a result of their changed marital status. In one state, that is exactly what happened when a worker went through a divorce, lost his job and had to fight through the courts to find a just resolution.

The man and his wife were both employed by a county Rescue Squad. The man had an affair with a woman who volunteered at the facility, and when his wife found out an out the relationship, their already strained marriage began to crumble even further. Both husband and wife approached management on separate occasions to discuss the matter. At that time, the man was told that there was no guarantee that his position would be secure.

When the man moved out of the marital home, he notified his supervisor of the change. At that point, the supervisor took the issue to the Board, and the decision was made to fire the husband. It is unclear whether the wife was able to keep her position.

He took the matter to court, but the trial court dismissed the case. At the appellate level, the court ruled that a worker's pending divorce should be considered under the umbrella of "marital status." The state's Supreme Court agreed, and found that the simple fact that a worker is going through a divorce should not be used as grounds for termination. That leaves the man free to head back to the trial court to seek remuneration for lost wages and benefits. For workers in Maryland, the outcome of this case could make it easier to move forward with a divorce, free from worry about job security.

Source:, "Divorce no reason to be fired, N.J. justices rule", Michael Boren, June 23, 2016

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