HR Strange But True!
July 05, 2001

A formerly suicidal insurance executive who lost his job after a six-hour standoff with police at a Denver-area mall is suing his former employer for discrimination under federal and state laws protecting the mentally disabled.

The executive, Richard M. Young, alleges he was wrongfully terminated from Ohio Casualty Insurance Co. after the company interpreted his suicide note as a letter of resignation, according to the Rocky Mountain News.

Young's lawsuit also accuses the company of defamation and invasion of privacy for circulating newspaper accounts of the standoff last May. It further cites company e-mails notifying co-workers that Young had been banned from the premises and should be considered dangerous.

According to the suit, Young was on emergency medical leave for an emotional breakdown when he drove to the shopping center's parking garage on May 29, 2000, and was spotted on mall security cameras with a revolver. Young, then litigation manager for Ohio Casualty's Denver regional office, was coaxed into surrendering.

Young said a regional vice president for Ohio Casualty had assured him just before the incident that the company wasn't "heartless" and that his job was safe. The day after the standoff, Young said, he called to check on his status at work and to assure the company he had no intention of resigning.

"A few days later," says the complaint, "Ohio Casualty notified Mr. Young that the company considered a suicide note left by Mr. Young to be a letter of resignation."

Source: Rocky Mountain News.

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