Employed At Will? Watch out for Wrongful Termination!
There is a large number of people who are employed in a company in a so-called “at will” scheme. It means that they have not signed any formal or binding employment contract or have not signed any kin...
There is a large number of people who are employed in a company in a so-called “at will” scheme. It means that they have not signed any formal or binding employment contract or have not signed any kind of agreement in terms of his or her employment with their employers.
This being the case, the law of the state has implicit permission that their employment can be ended at any given time, whatever occurs to their employers.
Meanwhile other employees have an employment contract signed with their employers, with a clause of “at will” to the condition that their employment may end depending on the employers’ option.
Are you an “at will” employee? You may think that you have no say whatsoever on whatever your employer would “will” for you, like ending your employment without due process of the law. You may think that filing for wrongful termination charges against your employer is null because of the fact that you are an at will employee.
Fret not. You and other “at will” employees in the country are still entitled to some degree of legal protection from an employer’s wrongful termination. You cannot be terminated for reasons that would violate the labor law and other public employment policies.
Here are the following statutes or legislations that strive to protect “at will” employees against wrongful termination by employers.
1. Laws on Civil Rights concentrating on Pretextual Termination – This is an extension of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It contains protections for employees against anti-discrimination. Employers cannot terminate an employee’s work for reasons of their gender, race, religion, skin color or country or nationality of origin.
There are even legal protections added to prevent discrimination on employees for their age.
As such, employers of at will employees may terminate an employment for arbitrary reasons as long as they are not with unlawful and discriminatory purposes or motives. If you believe that you have been a victim of wrongful termination that is pretextual, you have the right to file a case against your employer with claims that their lawful firing is motivated with unlawful discrimination.
2. Exceptions on Public Policy – most states have public policy safeguards from employment discharge. There are various nature and availability of reasons for these public policy safeguards usually depending on the jurisdictions.
However, the underlying principle for these is the common law or laws that have been launched through a state legislature. These create implied public policy or even express a reason for it.
3. Protections for Whistle blowers – the laws protecting whistle blowers can be regarded as “public policy” statutory extension. If you find yourself fired for reporting your employer’s unlawful activities or misconducts, then the whistleblower laws will protect you from being terminated wrongfully.
4. Protections for contractual employees – even if you are an employee with no written employment contract could look through the employee manuals or handbooks. You can use some provisions from them as protection against an employer’s action ending your employment.
5. Other claims from the tort law – if you believe that an employer committed actions like “invasion of privacy” or defamation to justify terminating you of your employment, then you can file a “personal injury lawsuit” against him or her to prevent said termination.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lala C. Ballatan a.k.a Kay Zetkin discovered the pleasure of writing through her daily journals way back when she was 10. With writing, she felt freedom – to express her viewpoints and assert it, to bring out all concerns -- imagined and observed, to bear witness. For more information about Wrongful Termination and other Employment law cases visit http://www.mesrianilaw.com