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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 11704
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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My husband works for ******** which I am sure you have heard

Customer Question

My husband works for
******** which I am sure you have heard about in the news due to their air bag inflators. He has been with the company for almost 19 years. In my opinion due to his age 59 and their financial problems he is being targeted to be let go from his job. He has MUCH documentation to his contribution to the company including 13 + patents. He is the director of New Business development. Formally Director of R and D. Where is our opinions from here?
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 7 months ago.

Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. I am sorry to hear what is happening to your husband. What specifically makes you believe this is age related? I very much look forward to helping you on this matter.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
He has essential tremors which have been dianosed by a neurologist. And have been concived as an alcohol problem which is not the case.
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 7 months ago.

Thank you. So you are saying that his tremors, which are the result of age, are being confused by his employer as the result of a drinking problem? Has he tried clarifying with his employer what the true reason is for his tremors? Also, is there anything that causes you to believe your husband is being targeted because of how old he is? If so, what specifically?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
No he is to proud and thinks his work should speak for its self.
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 7 months ago.

Thank you.

The general rule is that employment in the state of North Carolina is "at will" absent an express agreement to the contrary. At will employment can be terminated for any reason not amounting to discrimination on the basis of a legally protected trait (race, religion, gender, etc.) or retaliation for engaging in certain forms of legally protected conduct (filing a wage claim, taking FMLA leave, etc.). It doesn't matter whether the basis for termination is fair, reasonable or even true.

So, there is nothing illegal about being targeted for termination based on financial trouble or for other unwarranted reasons. It is only illegal to be targeted because of a legally protected trait or activity, as defined above. This is why I am asking what makes you believe your husband is being targeted because of his age. If he is fired and he can prove that it would not have happened but for how old he is, that would be illegal. It's really the only basis for a potential legal claim based on what you have described.

So, your husband really needs to consider what evidence he has of an age bias. Are there derogatory comments being made about how old he is? Does the company tend to only hire younger employees? Are older employees being disproportionately targeted for termination and discipline? These are the kinds of things that need to be looked at and considered. But ultimately, an age discrimination claim comes down to one thing: can you husband convince a jury, based on all the relevant facts and circumstances, that he would not have been fired if he was younger? If the answer is "yes," then he has a potential claim. If the answer is no, then his termination would likely be permissible under the employment "at will" doctrine.

I hope that you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes moving forward.

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