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Court rules that divorce cannot be used as grounds for firing

Going through marital trouble can cause a great deal of stress, especially when it seems unlikely that the relationship will survive. Spouses often worry about the financial repercussions of a divorce and take those issues into consideration when planning how to proceed. However, losing a job based on a divorce is something that may not have occurred to some Colorado spouses. That is an issue that one state's Supreme Court recently examined, and the outcome could come as a relief to some.

The case centered on a husband and wife who worked at a county Rescue Squad. The husband entered into an affair with a woman who volunteered at the facility. His wife eventually found out about the relationship, and the couple decided to divorce. At that time, both the husband and wife approached management separately to discuss the issue. The husband was told that there was no guarantee that his job would be secure, and he was told that a "wait and see" approach would be taken.

Once the husband moved out of the family home, he advised his supervisor of that change. At that point, the issue was brought before the board, and a decision was made to fire the husband. There is no report on whether the wife was also terminated from her position. 

He took the case to court, but it was initially dismissed. An appellate court ruled that a pending divorce should be considered part of one's marital status, which is a protected condition under employment law. The state's Supreme Court agreed, and ruled that the case be sent back to the trial court level. That means that the man will have the right to seek remuneration for lost wages and benefits based on his termination. For those in Colorado who are facing similar issues, the outcome of this case could be of interest.

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

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