16 Jul Avoiding Wrongful Termination Lawsuits
It’s never an easy decision to let go of an employee. As an employer, you want the best for your business as well as your employees, and sometimes, that means you have to let someone go when things aren’t working out. There are a variety of reasons why an employee isn’t working out well at your company, and plenty of them are completely legitimate reasons why you can terminate their employment. However, there are a few reasons for which you are definitely not allowed to fire an employee.
1. Discrimination & Alien Status
Discrimination is the leading cause of wrongful terminations. If an employee can prove that their termination was made on the basis of discrimination of gender, race, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy status, disability, alien status, or national origin this is illegal. Here are some examples of what we mean:
Kelley is legally eligible for employment in the United States despite their alien status. Tristan hired Kelley, but when they discovered their alien status, Tristan fired them despite the fact that Kelley is legally eligible for employment. Kelley is now suing Tristan for firing them solely on the basis of their alien status.
Casey is an employee of Jade. Casey becomes pregnant and Jade fires Casey on the grounds of their pregnancy. Casey is now suing Jade for wrongful termination on the grounds that they were fired because of Jade’s discriminatory practices.
2. Contract Hires
If an employee is hired under a contract and they are fired before the specified period of time in the contract has passed for a reason that has not been listed in the contract’s guidelines, this would be grounds for a wrongful termination suit. Here’s an example of what we mean:
Blakely is hired by Gale for a six-month contract. Gale fires Blakely four months in for a reason that was not implicitly stated as grounds for termination in Blakely’s contract. Blakely is now suing Gale for wrongful termination on the grounds that Gale broke their contract.
3. Complaints Retribution
If an employee files a complaint or exercised a right under public policy, they cannot be fired for doing so. Here’s an example of what we mean:
Pat reports Ashton, their employer, for violating workspace safety precautions. Ashton fires Pat for reporting them. Now, Ashton is facing two lawsuits. The first is for not providing a safe work environment and the second is for their wrongful termination of Pat.
4. Violations of Public Policy
If an employer fires an employee for reasons that the public would find morally reprehensible or ethically wrong, that would be grounds for a lawsuit. Here are a few examples of that we mean:
Skylar is asked by their employer, Harlow, to destroy documents that must be maintained according to state or federal law. Skylar refuses to do so and Harlow fires them because of this refusal. Skylar is now suing Harlow for wrongful termination on the grounds that Harlow retaliated against Skylar for refusing to take part in illegal activities.
Remi utilizes their permissible family leave time. Their employer, Mel, fires them for taking family leave even though it’s permissible under the law. Remi is now suing Mel for wrongful termination on the grounds that they were fired for exercising their legal right.
Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI Policies) is a type of employer insurance that covers wrongful acts in the employment process. Insurers write EPLI policies on a claims-made basis. This liability insurance is not limited to just directors and officers. It can cover anybody in a management position all the way down to the employees themselves. An EPLI policy is a necessity for any employer, and you can learn more about it, here!
EPLI is great for protecting your business, but if you want to save money on this policy, protect your business’s reputation, and do right by your employees you’ll absolutely want to avoid any Wrongful Termination Lawsuits. If you have questions about whether your business practices are ethical, we highly suggest you consult with legal and human relations professionals to follow the best courses of action.
If you have question about what an EPLI Policy covers or if you would like a free, no-obligation quote for a policy, feel free to call the Sava Insurance Group office, today!