Remember that cruise ship that sank off the coast of Italy last year? Remember the bumbling captain that ran the ship aground, cost the lives of 32 people, and abandoned the ship before his passengers? His name is Francesco Schettino and the cruise line he worked for let him go immediately after the incident. He is is facing charges of the European equivalent of manslaughter, but he is now suing for WRONGFUL TERMINATION!
Seriously? Seriously. Schettino’s lawyer, Bruno Leporatti reports to Reuters News: “It is the right of every worker to appeal against his dismissal and Capt. Schettino has done no more than exercise that right.”
Well maybe, but that seems to be the way things are in Europe. I really wasn’t planning to address this as a topic until I spoke with a former US, now French, attorney this week and asked about the differences.
I always thought it was less costly to run a business in Europe where they don’t have protections like the ADA, ADEA, and Title VII. You simply don’t have to worry about those types of claims as much. Apparently I was wrong. Instead of having many separate laws protecting employees, all of the claims are couched in terms of “wrongful termination” that allow this type of claim and was informed that virtually all European citizens make a claim for wrongful termination. According to the attorney I spoke with, almost every European employer simply negotiates a severance agreement with their employees to avoid what they know will be the cost of even a poorly executed suit like Schettino is bringing against the cruise line.
Thankfully, Texas does not recognize a claim for wrongful termination. At-will employment prevails allowing both employees and employers to terminate the relationship at any time. Employers still have to worry about discrimination claims, but there are very few other claims an employee can make. With many business owners lamenting the effects of Obamacare, it is nice to know there may still be a few reasons things are better over here.