Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
Hi, thanks for submitting your question today. I want to make sure I understand your question clearly before answering. Are you saying 1) you worked for an employer, 2) someone from that employer went to one of your husband's job sites for some reason?; 3) that because this person from your job went and "hung around" that job site you were terminated for not being a good fit? Obviously the story doesn't make sense but do I have it correct?
So the presumption here is that you probably were terminated because your husband competes with their electrical division and/or because you told someone at the employer you thought the electrical division was acting unethical, correct?
Are you by any chance a member of a union or do you have a contract with the employer that states you may be terminated only with just cause or with a certain process or hearing?
I see. I think what you've got here is a case where you've been totally treated unfairly, but there is no identifiable legal remedy for you. You are entitled to a copy of your personnel file under Wisc. law, but, because Wisc., is an employment at will state, you really can be terminated for almost anything regardless of how fickle the matter is. I'll explain further --"at will" employment means you can be disciplined or terminated for any reason that is not otherwise a violation of law. These exceptions are the civil rights protections (e.g., age, race, sex, religion), violations of public policy (e.g., fired for attending jury duty, for refusing to break the law, for reporting illegal activity by the employer (aka a "whistleblower violation"), or having some contractual right to a just cause employment (meaning the employer cannot terminate you without industrial due process - which basically insures a fair and accurate investigation and decision). Without any of these exceptions, courts find that the employer has a legitimate business right to operate its business however it sees fit and the court will not second-guess the employer. These policies and decisions may in fact be awful and clearly not fair or even make good business sense. However, they are not ultimately unlawful. Of course you would be entitled to unemployment compensation in this scenario.
Do you think it is possible any of these exceptions to the "at will" doctrine are applicable to your case?
There are only a few exceptions to the at will doctrine - basically they are civil rights, whistleblower violations, or a breach of contract violation -- you've state that there was no contract or policy violation. So the question would be narrowed down to whether you think you were terminated because of a civil right (ie., age, race, gender, disability, religious belief) or because you reported the employer to a public agency. Nothing in the chat has lead me to believe that is the case ... but maybe you believe it is?
It is unfortunately perfectly legal to terminate someone to lower costs and bring in someone at a lower wage.
I think there is no question you will get unemployment...I just wanted to give you some other type of relief to file a lawsuit or some other type of agency relief...and I'm just not seeing it in your facts. Certainly you'll get unemployment!
Has this answered your question? Unfortunately, I just don't see any other type of recourse in the matter except unemployment.