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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 100053
Experience:  Years of experience in running a medium sized law firm.
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I have a tough question about a termination. I have been a

Customer Question

I have a tough question about a termination. I have been a manager for 16 years and I have never seen this type of termination and I have unfortunately terminated well over a hundred people in my career for various different reasons.
I worked for a company and was terminated for performance but I was never written up and I was not given the opportunity to improve. It sounds somewhat simple but I was rated using criteria for a totally different role and the proper rating criteria for the role I was had, had not been created because it was a new role for which I am the actual subject matter expert based on the years of experience I have. This role had never existed before in the company nor did this dept. I actually had a large part in building this department and I actually created the only relevant rating system in the department but it was for part of the responsibilities that my direct reports had. my thoughts are we would develop a relevant rating systems once we were at the point were we could pull metrics and in all honestly the other members of my team needed to be more educated on this industry and how similar roles are evaluated.
In my years of experience I have witnessed my pears terminating employees in this manner but it always ended up in a lawsuit and it was always settled in favor of the employee and the manger was disciplined or terminated.
So, my question is should I take legal action for being terminated in this manner? Do I have a real chance at winning this case? IS it actually legal to evaluate people using criteria that doesn't really apply to the role and responsibilities of that employee? Honestly, the way I was evaluated was like rating a construction worker like he was a basketball player. It was ridiculous.
I did want to add that the company I worked for was a law firm and I am a minority. In fact of the few minorities in the company and in this type of role.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ely replied 8 months ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

I am sorry to hear about this situation. Please tell me what state this is in?

This is not an answer, but an information request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Massachusetts
Expert:  Ely replied 8 months ago.

Ah, thank you. I see that you also listed it prior in the question. My apologies.

On this website, I do not always get to give good news, and this is one of these times.

An employer generally has the right to terminate an employee FOR ANY REASON.

The only reasons one cannot be fired for are:

-PUBLIC POLICY (discrimination based on race, religion, creed, etc; or, a retaliatory termination due to a claim made by an employee); or
-CONTRACT POLICY (if one has a contract that disallows such a termination)
-COVENANT OF GOOD FAITH (firing an employee to avoid paying a benefit, for example)

Otherwise, an employer can terminate for any reason, without notice. It can be based on a mistaken rumor, or, just the fact that they do not like your shoes one day. You will hear "right to work" a lot. However, that does not mean what people think it means. All this means is that at time of being employed, the employee has a choice whether or not to join a union as a condition of employment.

So, my question is should I take legal action for being terminated in this manner?

Not really. The fact that the standards used by the employer to make the determination to terminate do not fall in line with the position does not matter -see above.

Do I have a real chance at winning this case?

Likely not, unless one can show that the real reason was discrimination based on race, religion, creed, etc - we will get to that in a moment.

IS it actually legal to evaluate people using criteria that doesn't really apply to the role and responsibilities of that employee?

As explained above, unfortunately, it is.

I did want to add that the company I worked for was a law firm and I am a minority. In fact of the few minorities in the company and in this type of role.

Here is where one may have a case. IF one believes that the real reason for being fired was due to discrimination based on a minority status (female, race, religion, etc), then one indeed would have a case. If you believe that this is what happened, then please REPLY and let me know and we can discuss this. Otherwise, I am afraid my answer stands as is.

Please note: If I tell you simply what you wish to hear, this would be unfair to you. I need to be honest with you and sometimes this means providing information that is not optimal. Negative ratings are reserved for experts who are rude or for erroneous information. Please rate me on the quality of my information; do not punish me for my honesty.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Please use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please RATE when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of TOP THREE FACES/STARS and then SUBMIT, as this is how experts get credit for our time. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars (or failing to submit the rating) does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith with a positive rating.

Expert:  Ely replied 8 months ago.
Hello again. This is a courtesy check in to see if you needed anything else in regards ***** ***** question because you never responded or replied positively. I am simply touching base. Let me know. Thanks!
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I believe that this could be discrimination. My credentials are top notch and I have world class certification. So this termination is too early in the process and not warranted based on the situation.
Expert:  Ely replied 8 months ago.

Okay. If someone in your situation believes that this decision was made on discrimination, then there are three things that one can do.

1) File a complaint with the EEOC.

2) File a complaint with MCAD.

3) File a lawsuit. See HERE.

Often, such a claim is settled via mediation through the EEOC or MCAD. Counsel is highly recommended for either step here.

Gentle Reminder: Please, use REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or RATE POSITIVELY and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.