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UTMB Extramarital Affair Firing Not Gender Discrimination

In June, a Texas appeals court dismissed a gender discrimination suit filed against the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) brought by former nurse Nicole Petteway, according to KHOU. The case was brought after Petteway was fired after the ending of an extramarital affair between her and fellow nurse Leon McGrew began to affect the workplace, with McGrew filing a sexual harassment claim, according to Galveston's The Daily News.

According to the Daily News, there were multiple confrontations between workers and the two lovers that ended the relationship. The News continues, once the relationship was over the two agreed to speak only about business, but that did not last. The story ends with McGrew filing multiple complaints against Petteway, resulting in Petteway's termination for violations of the sexual harassment policy, according to the News.

The News reports that the reason Petteway's claim failed was because she did not prove that she was treated differently because of her gender. Instead, the court found that she was treated differently because she had been accused of sexual harassment.

What can be learned from this case? If you are an employer, always keep good records of employee or customer complaints about another employee. This way, if a discrimination lawsuit is filed against your company, you have evidence of a non-discriminatory purpose for terminating an employee.

For employees, this is a good reminder to stand up for your rights in the workplace. If you are being harassed by a co-worker or superior, it needs to be reported. That way the harassing employee can be reprimanded or fired without fear of lawsuit.

All in all, there must be a good reason for filing a lawsuit. For Nicole Petteway, being angry about a break up was not enough for her gender discrimination claim to survive against UTMB.

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