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Coke settles with employee after retaliation claims

Workers' rights and union issues can be a hot-button topic for some industries and companies. One well-known international beverage company, Coca-Cola, has just settled a suit related to issues revolving around one man's attempt to unionize at a bottling plant. Any Colorado employee who feels retaliation for trying to unionize or speak out about problems on-the-job is why he or she was terminated from employment may be interested in learning about Coca-Cola's settlement of the case with a former delivery driver.

The man was trying to create a union at the bottling plant and was unsuccessful. About two years later, he was let go from his job. The company cited an absence he took from his job in order to care for his sick parent as the reason for his termination. He claims he used time off he had the right to use, and Coca-Cola contends the absence was "unexcused."

The man went to the National Labor Relations Board and complained that he was fired in retaliation. The company ultimately decided to settle the claim and agreed to pay the former employee $42,500. Coca-Cola denied any wrongdoing, though the worker sees the settlement as a win for those who wish to speak out.

An employment dispute can become complicated and stressful for both the company involved and the worker who may have spearheaded a complaint. In Colorado, employees who are fired because of speaking out about conditions or due to an attempt to unionize workers may want to investigate their right to pursue a claim for legal relief based upon evidence of retaliation. When a dispute arises pertaining to why a worker was fired, any evidence of earned time off or documentation of the dispute may prove helpful if the case results in formal litigation.

Source: ajc.com, "Coke settles labor dispute with dismissed employee", Leon Stafford, Feb. 6, 2015

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