Employment Law

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I have a question about a potential wrongful termination…

Customer Question
Hi Pearl, I have...

Hi Pearl, I have a question about a potential wrongful termination situation

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you documented this or discussed it with HR?

That's part of the concern. Our company doesnt have an HR department

Lawyer's Assistant: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?

Full time

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

That's all, except an unscheduled meeting was just called So if I can get feedback soon that will be very helpful

Submitted: 6 months ago.Category: Employment Law
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Answered in 5 minutes by:
12/14/2017
Employment Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 6 months ago
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12,256
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
Verified

Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating (click here for more info) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today.

Please keep in mind that our conversation does not include an attorney-client relationship and this is for general information purposes only. What specific questions did you have? I have an idea about your situation, but I don’t want to make any assumptions.

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
What are my rights as an employee if I feel I may be terminated without cause?
What protections are available to me if there is no HR department?
Can severance be required?
Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Unfortunatley I can't talk I am being called into an unscheduled meeting very shortly so any help you can provide through this means is appreciated
Employment Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 6 months ago

Are you aware whether you're an at-will employee?

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
I am not familiar with the term. I am a full-time employee of over 4 years
Employment Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 6 months ago

I understand. Do you work for any government entity? In addition, what reason do you believe they are trying to terminate you for?

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
I work for a large church. The claim is that it is performance related which would be difficult to substantiate because of my work product
Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Also, performace reviews have not been held every hear, however, my 2014 / 2015 performance reviews did not indicate a problem. In 2016 there was no review
Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Before the 2017 review a performance complaint was made, but goals were never set ... which further supports my belief that the performance argument is a cover.
Employment Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 6 months ago

I can understand. So, generally, there isn't any law that protects against termination because most employees are considered "at will" meaning that they can quit at will or they can be terminated at will for any reason or for no reason at all. Some employees that are in unions or have agreements that require they be terminated for cause generally have greater protections, but most employees do not have any protections and also are not bound to just one employer. An employer cannot terminate someone just on the basis of their age, sex, gender, disability, or sexual orientation.

This means that an employee would have to look to contract law to help settle their issue. In your case, you could argue that this appears to be a violation of the implied covenant (promise) of good faith and fair dealing if they are claiming that this is a performance related termination when there has been no problem. Under the Uniform Commercial Code Section 1-304, every contract comes with implied promises from both parties that they are going to be acting fairly toward one another. The failure of one party to act fairly toward other can result in a breach of contract. There’s a site that I’ve used in the past where you can find a good template for advising of a breach of contract. It's a bit easier (and cheaper) than going through litigation and I have seen it be effective in the past. If this doesn’t work, sadly, the only other option is to either go through an informal mediation or file a lawsuit in your local court. This website is also pretty cool because you can just purchase, download, and go. Click here to get started.

What other questions did you have for me today?

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
A written self evaluation was submitted prior to the 2017 that layed out a history of production and hard work ... no response was provided to the evaluation other than a reiteration "its not working out"
Meeting is starting momentarily any help you can provide?
Employment Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 6 months ago

Hi, I actually just responded to you. Did you get a chance to review what I wrote?

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
reviewing now
Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Thank you. What about severance?
Employment Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 6 months ago

If you were to sue for breach of contract, then a court probably wouldn't be able to get any additional severance; it's likely you'd be owed whatever wages they denied you as a result of your termination.

Did you have any other questions for me today?

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Will I have to undergo that process be in order to receive severance?
Employment Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 6 months ago

Normally, no. It's something you should keep in your back pocket. If you want to stay out of court, then I would recommend employing some different tactics to help keep your severance.

One little known, but very effective tool that lawyers use when there isn’t a law that they can rely on to support their position is called principled negotiation. All this means is that you are looking to get something done on the basis of principles, even if you can’t find a law to support you. It takes the anxiety out of dealing with the other side because you’re focused on the facts, not each other.

Here are some simple steps you can follow:

  1. Figure out what the other side’s interests are (saving money, saving time, etc.?);

  2. Think about what your interests are (saving money, saving time, etc.?);

  3. Come up with 2 to 3 reasonable and objective ways to solve the problem;

  4. Present it to the other side;

  5. If the other side rejects, ask them, “Is there a reason why you do not feel it is necessary to negotiate?”

Of course, these are just building blocks to get the other party to help solve the dispute. Believe me when I say that good lawyers use this technique all the time to keep things out of court. You’ll find that it is very effective even with the most stubborn of individuals.

What else can I help you with today?

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