What is a wrongful termination?
If you have been terminated you may be asking what just happened. You also may be asking yourself if the termination was legal. The answer depends on the circumstances of the termination.
Usually, termination of an employment relationship is often the result of one or more stated reasons. These may include employee-specific performance issues or perhaps broader concerns such as current market demands for business products or services.
Often times, the reasons provided for the termination do not match up with what actually occurred. From your prospective, you may feel the process was unfair or even based on incorrect information.
In some circumstances, a termination may be wrongful when a motivating fact for the decision was based on what are known as federal or state-protected classes. These protected classes include but are not limited to race, religion, sex, disability, and age.
In addition to protected classes, various other state and federal laws are in effect to protect other employment rights such as those found under the Family Medical Leave Act and the Michigan Whistleblowers’ Protection Act.
What does the process involve?
First, the claim you may have must be assessed. This assessment includes reviewing the relevant facts surrounding the termination, and determining what liability, if any, the employer may be responsible for. The assessment also includes determining what damages may have occurred as a result of a wrongful termination, which usually starts with lost income.
If liability and damages are present, or at least reasonably present, the following steps usually follow. The next step is to file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or you may file with a functionally-equivalent state agency such as the Michigan Department of Civil Rights or the Texas Workforce Commission. Once that charge is filed, a copy should be forwarded to the employer who then usually responds in writing.
From that point forward, the parties may agree to attempt a resolution of the matter by mediation or otherwise hold informal settlement talks. Usually, the matter is not resolved at which point a right-to-sue letter may be issued. With this letter, the employee or former employee is then provided a limited window of time to proceed in either State or Federal court.
At this point, the parties are usually provided a wide-array of discovery tools to seek documents, responses to interrogatories, and depositions.
Usually, after suit is filed and some discovery is conducted, cases tend to settle. There are some instances however that trial is necessary. The reasons for this may be that the parties are unwilling to compromise the matter mutually, and both believe that they will have the advantage by trial with judge or jury.
If you have been terminated, contact here for a case consultation.
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