- Wrongful Termination Claims: Unfair v Illegal
- July 21, 2012 | Author: Arkady Itkin
- Law Firm: Law Office of Arkady Itkin - San Francisco Office
- Unfair and hurtful things are not uncommon. Most employees, if asked if they were ever treated unfairly by their company or their boss will be able to remember a few events that made them feel like they were wronged - form being yelled at and being called names, to be micromanaged and being issued seemingly unfair performing reviews or unjustified performance reviews, as well being falsely accused of a certain misconduct that they never committed.
However, when the aggireved employee decides to file a lawsuit against his present of former employer, it's critical that the potential claimant understands the difference between that conduct of the employer which was illegal versus that which was only unfair. This is because the courts only deal with adjudicating legal violations. The courts do not render decision regarding personality conflicts at workplace and any kind of unfair or wrong treatment, unless the reason for that bad treatment id discriminatory (based on religion, color, race, disability, ethnic origin, age, gender, sexual orientiation, etc.) or retaliatory (for engaging in a protected activity such as complaining about harassment, health and safety violations, whistleblowing, etc.).
It is critical to have evidence that the reason you were treated differently and the reason you were terminated was illegal. For instance, just because you happened to be disabled and/or African American doesn't mean that you were terminated because of that. Showing the discriminatory animus through facts, documents and witness is critical to a favorable out-of-court settlement or jury verdict.
Many employees, when wronged, instinctively feel that there has to be some law or rule out there that prohibit the employer's conduct that they are unhappy about. But this is not always the case. In fact, the majority of the unfair events that take place at various workplaces do not violate any laws. It is therefore well worth for any aggrieved employee who considers filing an employment or a wrongful termination lawsuit to consult with an experienced employment attorney, to discuss whether the employee has legal claims and if so why. At the very least, having that kind of discussion early on may prevent a legally meritless lawsuit and will save a lot of money and many hours of aggravation to the employee.