Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, how much you work, and how deeply you involve yourself with work, things don’t unfold as you’d like them to. The job market is a difficult one at the moment, and considering that economy is in such a critical state, letting go of employees, and wrongful terminations have become a normal occurrence. Wrongful termination or dismissal, also known as wrongful termination or wrongful discharge describes a situation where an employee’s contract of employment is terminate by the employer through “illegal” means.
In other words, the termination of the contract does not respect the employment contract. Wrongful termination has a lot to do with employment at-will, a phenomenon which has become extremely popular, and from certain points of view it could actually be considered a new doctrine.
Nevertheless, although most employees act as if they have created law with their own hands, the truth is that employees have rights, and one of them states that it is not legal to terminate agreements by violating regulations, public policy or constitutional provisions. This also means that employers can’t lay off their personnel simply because they are annoyed by their jokes, or they despise their personality. If you are smart enough to contest a wrongful termination or dismissal, there are good chances that you will receive compensation, including dismissal damages.
Examples of Wrongful Termination
There are no specific rules when it comes to wrongful termination, they include, but are not limited to the following examples:
- RETALIATION: in the United States, retaliation is forbidden under civil law. It implies that an employer is not allowed to fire an employee if he filed a claim of discrimination or participated in an investigation of discrimination.
- DESCRIMINATION: probably the most common reason for wrongful termination – according to the law, the employers is forbidden to lay off employees based on their gender, race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation etc.
- EMPLOYEE’S REFUSAL TO COMMIT ILLEGAL ACTS: I have heard of this happening countless of times before. Nevertheless, a contract cannot be broken because the employee refuses to participate in illegal activities. → actions such as theft, violence, sabotage etc, may cause for immediate dismissal. Nevertheless, they can also be used as reasons for dismissal if they have a history of this behaviour.
- EMPLOYER NOT FOLLOWING OWN TERMINATION PROCEDURES: there are certain conditions that must be met before letting someone go. For example, if an individual has been working for a long time in a firm, he can only be fired after he receives (for example) two months of salary etc. The procedures are different from state to state, but the concept is the same: certain steps must be taken before letting someone go, and failure to apply them may lead to wrongful termination or dismissal.
- CONSTRUCTIVE DISMISSAL: there is another tactic that certain employees use: making the work-place so horrible and impossible to work in that the employee will finally decide to quit on his own. It can also represent a foundation for wrongful dismissal.
The fact of the matter is that there are wrongful dismissals, and there are also fair ones. If the employee has more than two years of service, he can claim unfair termination, considering that something was wrong with the decision to dismiss and the length of notice. A well advised dismissal claim would be in respect of the post-termination period, and a sue in court could lead to the prolonging of statutory limits → more loss of earnings and ignoring breach of contract limit by using court instead of tribunal. However, it is difficult to prove that double recovery is on the employer and tribunal awards on the basis of wrongful termination or dismissal, which can be a vague term. The best advice you could ever receive would be to work for people that you trust, or at least make sure that your rights are being respected.