CHICAGO (CN) - Marshall Field's breached an employee contract by firing a worker for drawing stick figures of a female co-worker being electrocuted, boiled, guillotined, run over by a train, shot out of a cannon and tied to a rocket, an Illinois appeals court ruled.
When the co-worker's son brought the pictures to the store's attention,Marshall Field'ssuspended the artist, Gary Ross, and told him to see a psychologist.
After two visits, Ross says the psychologist told him that he suffered from depression, but was otherwise "not a threatening individual."
Marshall Field's fired him, anyway, prompting Ross to dig out his 1968 employee handbook. He claimedthe handbook constitutes a contract and states that he can only be fired through the"use of progressive discipline,"and notat-will.
The appellate court held that disclaimers in revised handbooks did not modify the contract or convert the plaintiff to an at-will employee. See ruling.