What is involved with wrongful termination cases?

by | Sep 18, 2020 | Employment Law

No one likes to lose a job unexpectedly, and people finding themselves out of work in Kentucky over perceived wrongful termination might feel slighted and angry. The income and reputation loss may lead some to consider civil litigation. In such cases, the firing does need to be truly “wrongful” as defined by state or federal statutes.

Unfortunately, most people work in a job where firing may occur “at will.” That is, the employer may terminate an employee for virtually any reason. For example, if the employer wants to boost profits, the company could let several employees go. Unless the employees have a union agreement or guaranteed contract that adds protections to their employment, at-will firings are possible. However, an employer cannot fire someone for reasons deemed illegal.

Firings based on discrimination are unlawful. Employers cannot terminate someone based on race, gender, religion, age and so on. A person who could prove that discrimination factored into a firing decision may have grounds for a civil suit.

Firing a whistleblower could also fall under the category of wrongful termination. If executives at a financial company were engaged in fraud, an employee who “blows the whistle” over the activity garners protections under the law. Employers who fire a whistleblower may end up in court.

Breach of contract could also fall under wrongful termination. If a contracted employee is outright guaranteed 52 weeks of pay and the company stops payment and dismisses the person at week 40, a breach of contract or wrongful termination suit may arise. The particulars of the contract and the circumstances surrounding the dismissal might come under scrutiny. A common question to ask would be, “Did the employee breach the contract first?” If not, then he or she may have a civil case.

Bringing forth a wrongful termination case may require a complex legal strategy. The person seeking a remedy might wish to consult with an experienced attorney about the process.