Employee terminated over bag lunch disagreement sues employer for slander

By Kyle Barnett | Sep 20, 2012

NEW ORLEANS – An Iowa woman is suing her former New orleans-based employer for alleged slander.

Jessica McNeil filed suit against Earth Search, Inc. and Jill-Karen Yakubik in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court on July 27.

McNeil claims she worked for the defendants for six years and eight months without incident. The plaintiff claims she became concerned that the company's in-house daycare was not feeding her 18-month old daughter lunches that were handmade by her father and transported to the facility.

McNeil asserts that she confronted the director of childcare, Yakubik, about the incidents who said her daughter had not eaten because she was "teething." However, McNeil claims that a daycare assistant told her she was not feeding the child the lunches because they included choking hazards.

The plaintiff claims that the childcare director was not feeding her daughter due to previous conflicts the two had over field trips, in particular one in which the plaintiff claims her daughter was seriously injured.

McNeil further alleges that after confronting the childcare director about the the issue the two got into a heated argument and the plaintiff threatened to call the fire marshall on the daycare center for safety violations.

The plaintiff asserts the next work day after making the threat she was terminated from the company by Yakubik for "sabotage."

McNeil alleges her termination after such a long period of employment has led to her inability to find another permanent position and ultimately led to her divorce and subsequent move from New Orleans to Iowa where her children are also living 1,000 miles away from their father.

The defendant is accused of slandering the plaintiff, abusing the plaintiff's daughter, using a false pretense to terminate the plaintiff's employment and damaging the plaintiff's opportunity to receive another job.

An unspecified amount in damages is sought for significant financial losses, mental anguish, emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life.

McNeil is represented by John M. Mezaraups of the Slidell-based The Mezaraups Law Firm.

The case has been assigned to Division A Judge Tiffany G. Chase.

Case no. 2012-07354.

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