A Nevada baggage handler has been cleared to return to her job, weeks after being fired for reporting a severe case of animal abuse. The move may also serve to fend off a potential lawsuit.
Lynn Jones, 56, was loading baggage and pet carriers onto planes last month at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. One pet's plight in particular caught her eye: An emaciated pointer with bloody paws, its body covered in sores.
Jones claims her supervisor told her to look the other way, the Reno Gazette-Journal reports. Jones, in tears, called authorities instead.
"(My supervisor) kept yelling, 'That's it, you're done, you are out of here, go home,'" Jones told the Gazette-Journal. Jones left, and was told she was no longer a baggage handler because she'd abandoned her post.
The dog was taken by animal control agents, nursed back to health, and eventually sent on its way to Texas. Jones, an animal lover who lives with three dogs, three cats, and a bird -- all rescues -- was left unemployed, and unpaid, for weeks.
But Tuesday, Jones' baggage-handling bosses apparently had a change of heart -- they apologized for her animal-abuse firing and offered Jones her job back, with back pay, the Associated Press reports. Jones accepted the offer Wednesday.
Offering Jones her job back makes sense for her employer as a legal strategy. If Jones pursues a claim for wrongful termination -- for example, saying she was let go in retaliation for reporting animal abuse -- Jones' rehiring could be seen as a mitigating factor for any potential damages. With back pay reinstated, a court would likely say her financial situation has been restored.
Jones has not said if she's pursuing a lawsuit, but the baggage-handling company is trying to make up for Jones' animal abuse report firing: It's pledged a series of donations to the Nevada Humane Society over the next three years.
- Lynn Jones, baggage handler fired over reporting mistreated dog, offered her job back at Reno airport (New York Daily News)
- Ten Things to Think About: Wrongful Discharge (FindLaw)
- Plaintiffs Lack Standing in Ringling Bros. Animal Cruelty Case (FindLaw's DC Circuit blog)