Perhaps no phrase in employment law is more misunderstood by the general public than the phrase wrongful termination. When the partners in Huizenga & Hergt, P.C., started to practice law, this phrase did not even exist. This law firm, which has been devoted to employment law since the 70's, has been a leader in creating legal foundations for lawsuits that simply did not exist 25 years ago.
For example, we were instrumental in creating the public policy exception to the terminable-at-will rule in Michigan and successfully brought cases for whistleblowers before there was legislation that made this conduct illegal. We were one of the first law firms in the country to successfully argue in Michigan, New Jersey and elsewhere that an employer's personnel policy manual promises may give rise to a breach of contract claim.
Wrongful termination does not mean that you have a legal cause of action simply because you were treated unfairly. Wrongful termination refers to the exceptions to the Terminable at Will Rule. These exceptions differ so vastly from state to state that a discussion of them is not practical here. Typically, however, such exceptions involve terminations that offend public policy as set forth in court decisions or state statutes.
If your employment has been terminated under circumstances which seem particularly peculiar or which smack of some illegal conduct, or you just want to be sure that you have examined your legal options before you move on, you should consult with a lawyer whose practice is devoted to employment law. It is important not only that the attorney practices in this area but also has shown some creativity in pursuing such cases.
Our firm had a client who, behind closed doors and outside the presence or hearing of anyone, made a sexually suggestive comment about a woman who passed by the window. Unknown to our client, an employee running for a union officer position had left a hidden tape recorder in the room to learn what employees were saying about him.
After the employee retrieved his recorder, he played the tape for the woman, who then filed a sexual harassment claim against our client. He then gave the tape to the company. He was fired just as he was reaching retirement age. He went to many attorneys who turned down his case saying he was terminable-at-will and had no case. We immediately recognized that the knowing use of a recording illegally obtained was illegal under state law and that the employer could be held liable for using the recording to wrongfully terminate his employment.
When you select a lawyer in a wrongful discharge case, it is advisable to ask them what unique cases they have brought and won.
For high quality legal representation and responsive client service, contact the wrongful termination attorneys at Huizenga & Hergt, P.C., today.
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