Some people may think of wrongful termination as its own distinct legal entity that doesn't involve other aspects of employment law. But wrongful termination almost always involves some other area of employment law. You can be wrongfully fired due to retaliation; you can be wrongfully terminated after reporting sexual harassment; you can be wrongfully terminated as a result of your employer discriminating against you or infringing upon your rights in any way.
The issues that surround Wells Fargo are numerous and the once-esteemed bank has fallen into a position that leaves their future murky and clouded. Without getting into all of these problems, let's focus on just one that involves employment law and whistleblowers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) decided that Wells Fargo must rehire a former manager that they fired and pay him $5.4 million to account for lost wages, attorney fees and punitive damages.
In the opposite corner of the country from us in Florida, a wrongful termination lawsuit signifies the lengths that employers will go to in order to cover up for sloppy employees. The story also shows that no one is immune to nepotism.
In our last post, we talked about how companies don't have full freedom in firing an employee. This may seem at odds with the definition of an at-will employee. These employee relationships between the individual and the company can be ended at any time without warning, by either party. That sure sounds like firing freedom for the company, doesn't it?
Everyone likes to think of the law as this shield that protects them from harm or wrongdoing. For the most part, this is true. As a social construct, the laws that we have prevent others from doing terrible things. This is their design. But just because their design is a sound and just one doesn't mean that people or companies will obey the law -- may it be literally or spiritually.
As many people are aware, the California tech industry is a behemoth now. There is fierce competition between companies both big and small, and there are significant barriers to prominence given the wealth of some of the elite tech companies, the difficulty in retaining talent and the simple fact that the market has become a bit saturated. All of these factors play a role in a recent wrongful termination lawsuit filed by Anthony Pompliano, who left Facebook for Snapchat.
Retaliation is an incredibly common claim by employees who say they were punished or fired in retaliation for legitimate and legal acts on their part. A common example is an employee upholding his or her rights or filing a legitimate claim with human resources, and their employer found it necessary to punish or fire them. This is unacceptable and the victimized employee should seek legal help to pursue their case. This is how many wrongful termination cases begin.
A former county administrator was fired in 2014 after it was alleged that he did not reveal a potential conflict of interest that involved his wife. The administrator was hired in 200- and then fired in 2014. It was discovered that the administrator did not tell county officials about his wife's employment at an energy company, one that had a solar project proposal on the table for the county.
Up the coast from Florida, there is a whistleblower and retaliation lawsuit going on that demonstrates a major problem with a particular township, their police and their prosecutor's office. The case in question involves a police officer who says he was subjected to retaliatory actions after he reported that his department did not comply with the Attorney General's directives on training for an active shooter.
While the following story did not occur here in Fort Lauderdale, the information is useful to anyone, may they live here in Florida or in any other corner of the country. The case we are referencing occurred in West Virginia, where a woman who worked for a physician's office was terminated after she tried to use time off granted to her by the Family Medical Leave Act.