“Wrongful discharge” is one of the most common, but misunderstood, claims asserted by employees who have unexpectedly lost their jobs. Employment in this jurisdiction is “at-will” unless you have an employment agreement that provides for a definite term of employment. The practical effect of at-will employment means that an employee can be terminated for nearly any reason that is not based upon a protected characteristic, such as race, age, gender or religion.
“Wrongful discharge” is one of the very few exceptions to at-will employment. However, the concept of “wrongful discharge” applies to a very narrow classification of cases in this jurisdiction. Specifically, an employee will have a wrongful discharge case ONLY if his/her termination violates a clear mandate of public policy and the employee does not otherwise have a remedy. For example, an employee who is terminated for refusing to violate the law would have a wrongful discharge case, as would an employee who is terminated because of her pregnancy (or any other protected characteristic) but works for a small company that does not employ a sufficient number of employees to be covered under federal, state or local anti-discrimination laws.
Marc represents both employers and employees in cases involving wrongful discharge. In a recent case, Marc represented 3 employees who alleged they were terminated because they reported suspected abuse of developmentally disabled individuals who lived in homes run by their employer. The case settled on the eve of trial.