Hold Your Tongue: Settlement Pierces Firing Rationale

Get used to managing employees with tongue studs and the like. Faced with a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court, a real estate company last week reinstated a worker it had fired in mid-September for defying an order from her manager to remove a tongue stud. The out-of-court settlement was prompted by a law that went into effect in California this year that prohibits companies from firing employees for conduct that is viewed as lawful outside of the workplace. The 29-year-old women, Mary Haudenshield, had worked at R&B Realty Group in Woodland Hills, Calif., the last six-and-one-half years. Her lawsuit had alleged wrongful termination, invasion of privacy, breach of contract, breach of implied good-faith covenant, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

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