For the most part, when you hear the phrase "wrongful termination" thrown around, you are inclined to believe that the company must have been at fault. Somehow, someway, the big bad corporation did what it needed to do in order to get an employee off the books.
But in many cases, this simply isn't true. There are a few things to consider here. First, companies are not inherently evil. They have to make tough decisions every day to further the company and keep it financially viable; and sometimes this means that people have to be relieved of their position.
Second, when these people have their jobs terminated, it is common for them to believe they were "screwed over" -- that somehow the company was against them the whole time and that they were wronged. The disgruntled former employee may pursue legal action simply in an act of revenge as a result, instead of actually basing their case on merit or evidence.
Last but not least, a wrongful termination case (whether true or not) can irreparably damage a company's reputation. It can cost them thousands of dollars in legal fees; it can make job seekers less likely to apply at the company, limiting the pool of talent from which they have to draw from; and ultimately, it can be a public relations nightmare, all of which take away from the company's ability to properly function.
That is why it is always best for a company to consult a legal representative before taking any serious action in regards to an employee's status at the company. A business can avoid the trap of simply firing someone without considering the legal side of the decision. By avoiding risk, the company can be spared a contentious lawsuit.
Just such a scenario played out in Tennessee, where a woman claimed she was wrongfully terminated and retaliated against. Her claim was denied -- and though on appeal the termination was partially overturned, it was only regarding the retaliation. The denial of her wrongful termination claim was upheld due to a lack of evidence.
Source: Associated Press, "Appeals court reverses part of decision dismissing wrongful firing lawsuit by Memphis employee," Sept. 25, 2012
- Consulting an attorney before making major employee decisions is always a good idea for any business -- big or small, corporation or corner store. To learn more, please visit our Hartford employment claims page.