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I was emplyed by a bank in Michigan for about 2 years. In…

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I was emplyed by a...
I was emplyed by a bank in Michigan for about 2 years.
In mid-2009 I filed personal bankruptcy -- Chapter 7.
My employer found out about it. They called me to a meeting with my boss and the human resources manager. They talked about my filing. They asked if I would rescind the filing if it menat keeping my job. I did not rescind. They terminated me a few months later. Although they gave me a 2 month severance package -- of course I had to take it to support my family -- I was out of work for 6 months, and had to take a job at 40% of my former salary. It is my understanding that an emplyer cannot terminate an employee for filing personal bankruptcy. That is a federal law. Do I have a case for suing them for damages???
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Employment Law
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Answered in 4 minutes by:
6/9/2010
Employment Lawyer: MDLaw, Employment Lawyer replied 8 years ago
MDLaw
MDLaw, Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 6,138
Experience: Experienced attorney representing companies and individuals in employment law matters and litigation
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Are you wanting them to sue you for the termination? Did your severance agreement contain language agreeing that you would not sue them (since almost every such agreement contains that kind of language)?
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago

 

Yes, the severance agreement DID have that language, and I signed it.

However, I am positive that the Bank voided that agreement because they failed to pay me the full amount of my medical insurance coverage like they promised in the agreement. So, if they voided that severance agreement then the part about me not suing them is also voided. If that is tru then I can sue them.

 

In addtion, I think the federal law about wrongful termination in this case is actually a part of the bankruptcy law (Title 11, Chapter 5, subchapter II, part 525) not labor law. In any case do you think it would be worthwhile to sue them either a regular lawsuit, or in small claims court?

Employment Lawyer: MDLaw, Employment Lawyer replied 8 years ago
The agreement would only be void if there was language in it that a failure on their part to pay your medical insurance constituted a breach making the agreement null and void. Chances are that the agreement did not contain such language. Therefore, you would not be able to sue them absent such language in the agreement.

Regardless of the statute, when a severance agreement says that you cannot sue, it means that you cannot sue on ANY basis.

Lastly, the provision of the Bankruptcy Code to which you refer has been very narrowly interpreted by the courts. It states that an employer cannot terminate you SOLELY because you filed bankruptcy. In other words, if they had other reasons to terminate you, that would be perfectly legal. Because of the narrow interpretation, there have been very few successful cases based on discrimination based on filing personal BK.

If you sued them, it would be a violation of your severance agreement and you would most likely be ordered to pay back the severance money they gave you and any penalties that the Agreement called for.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
Relist: I disagree.
Doesn't sound like a real attorney..
I disagree.
Doesn't sound like a real attorney.
Employment Lawyer: MDLaw, Employment Lawyer replied 8 years ago
What exactly do you disagree with? You can click on my credentials, as they have been verified by Just Answer. I graduated from Columbia University Law School over 10 years ago.
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