Most workers in Michigan are classified as “at will” employees, which means that they or their employers can decide to terminate employment any time without providing any reason. There are however, some reasons for which an employer is prohibited from terminating a worker. When an employee is unlawfully terminated from a position, he or she will likely pursue a legal action against the employer.
With the assistance of a skilled attorney, you can develop a strong defense against wrongful termination charges. Our lawyers have an in-depth understanding of Michigan’s complex system of business and employment laws.
When an Employer can Not Terminate a Worker
Although employers are not required to have a reason for terminating an “at will” worker, if the employee alleges that the termination is due to one of several prohibited reasons, a lawsuit will likely result.
Some of the situations in which employers in Michigan are prohibited from terminating workers include the following:
- Breach of contract. If there is a contract suggesting the nature of an employer-employee relationship, it is no longer an “at will” relationship. If an employer violates the terms of this contract and terminates a worker, the employer can end up facing claims of wrongful termination.
- Discrimination. Employers in Michigan are prohibited from terminating workers on the basis of color, race, religion, sex, national origin, marital status, age, and disability. If a worker was fired for one of these reasons, the worker likely has a strong basis for a wrongful termination lawsuit.
- Public policy. An employee can not be terminated from an employer if the termination relates to the worker’s unwillingness to commit an illegal activity. Employers also cannot terminate workers because they reported illegal acts or violations made by an employer.
Strategies to Avoid Wrongful Termination Claims
Some of the techniques that employers can follow to avoid claims of wrongful termination include the following:
- Maintain a detailed employee handbook, which expresses the employer’s expectations of its workers. The more that a handbook expresses the reasons why the employer might terminate a worker, the more support an employer will have to show that a worker was fired due to violation of a company policy. In many situations, it is a wise idea to obtain the assistance of an experienced attorney who can review your company’s policies.
- During the session in which the worker is informed of his or her termination, have another individual present who can provide testimony as to how the worker violated company policy.
- Provide a severance package that is adequate; this often helps companies avoid claims of wrongful termination.
- After the worker is terminated, make sure to keep all documentation of the process organized and easily accessible in case it is needed.
Speak with a Knowledgeable Business Law Attorney Today
The attorneys at Resnick Law have helped employers navigate a variety of employment laws. If you believe that a worker will accuse you of wrongful termination or are currently facing wrongful termination charges, you should not hesitate to contact a skilled business law attorney. Contact our law office today for assistance.
(image courtesy of Jane Palash)