The pandemic years, not only worsen the situation for employees but also slowed down the economy. The pandemic also became one of the reasons for the wrongful discharge of an exceeding number of employees in numerous sectors. The question here is this: do employers have the power to do so? Is there no repercussion when an employer terminates an employee without probable cause or without just cause, which is commonly referred to as a wrongful discharge??
What is Wrongful Termination?
In law, wrongful dismissal, also called wrongful termination or wrongful discharge, is a situation in which an employee’s contract of employment has been terminated by the employer, where the termination breaches one or more terms of the contract of employment or a statute provision or rule in employment law. Laws that regulate wrongful dismissal tend to differ consequently to the terms of the employment contract, as well as under the laws of that particular jurisdiction.
Things To Keep in Mind
- Read your employment contract carefully: It is important to read each clause of the employment contract. As you still have time to object to certain terms and conditions and add anything else that you would require.
- Build good relationships with the workforce: As much as it is unfair and illegal to terminate employees without any reasonable cause that is. It always works in your favor as an employee to build connections and maintain long-lasting valuable professional relationships. Maintaining a good reputation tends to let people talk about you in a good manner and good people are always valued at a corporation. As compared to people who are often negative and tend to waste their time on mediocre office gossip.
- Provide something new to the table: If you are good at what you do and are capable of improving even better. It is highly likely that a corporation would value you more and would not want to lose you.
Termination can be of various types and for various reasons. Let us discuss a few of them.
- Discrimination: The employer cannot terminate employees because due to the mere reason that they belong to a particular race, nationality, religion, sex, age, or (in some jurisdictions) sexual orientation. This, however, does happen in large corporations, where such termination can be hidden, and it becomes difficult for employees to fight back or complain against the same as well.
- Sexual Orientation: At times multi-national corporations tend to not offer a promotion or an available job only for the sole reason that a woman is applying.
- Retaliation: An employer cannot fire an employee because the employee filed a claim of discrimination or is participating in an investigation for discrimination. In the US, this “retaliation” is forbidden under civil rights law.
- Breach of Employment Contract: Very self-explanatory, the breach can either be on the part of the employer or employee.
- Breach of Confidentiality: It is crucial that every company maintain secrecy on client information or data or any other confidential information that the company possess. Any misuse or loss of said data due to negligence or otherwise on the employee’s part may also result in his or her termination.
- Reporting a Violation of Law to Government Authorities: This is also known as a whistleblower An employee who falls under this category of whistleblower provision may not be legally discharged for informing an employer’s lawful violation or any other illegal activity that the employer is carrying on, one that is not permitted by law.
In the United States, there is no single “wrongful termination” law. Rather there are several state and federal laws and court decisions that define this concept. In all the U.S. states except Montana, workers are considered by default to be at-will employees, meaning that they may be fired at any time without cause. If you have been terminated and believe it was done for discriminatory reasons (and you are able to show this through evidence), then you should file your complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within the time limit provided. “Where an employment contract requires termination only for cause, a terminated employee can sue for arbitrary discharge. Wrongful discharge claims usually arise, however, under the default rule of at-will employment, in which both labor and management can terminate the relationship at will. In some states, a terminated worker can sue for wrongful discharge under contract law if he can show an implied contract for permanent employment, combined with a termination that lacked proper cause.”
It is important that Companies do not involve themselves in activities that include wrongful termination. Most companies thrive on a good reputation, but the same is hampered the moment a wrongful discharge takes place. People in general, clients, and even employees will tend to question the ethics of the said company. Such termination also entails a risk not only for the employer in the market, in terms of reputation but also for the company as a whole.
This article is solely intended for information purposes only and shall not constitute legal advice. The author advises you to consult with attorneys @LaymanLitigation for any legal-related queries.
 Wrongful dismissal - Wikipedia  Refer above footnote.  "Frequently Asked Questions". Montana Department of Labor & Industry. State of Montana. Archived from the original on 22 December 2017.  Wrongful Termination - FindLaw  Wrongful termination | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute (cornell.edu)