What to do about a wrongful termination?

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What to do about a wrongful termination?

I am 55 years old and retired from US Marines. I was called in to HR and terminated with no warning oabout 2 weeks ago for “communication” with my supervisor. There was no final incident that preceded the termination. The company has an employee handbook that publishes a progressive disciplinary process of Discussion, Warning and Final Warning; then termination. I was not afforded an opportunity for anything; I was just dismissed. I believe that I was wrongly terminated.

Asked on June 9, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Normally, an employee can be terminated at any time, for any reason, without warning or progressive discipline. That can be modified by contract, and a contract can be implied (or found in/from) an employee handbook if the employee handbook is sufficiently concrete and lacks any caveats or limitations on its enforceability: i.e., if the handbook does NOT contain any statements such as--

"Nothing in this handbook constitutes a contract of employment"

"All employment is employment at will"

"Policies may be changed at will without notice"

--the handbook may constitute an employment contract. On the other hand, if it has those sorts of disclaimers, it would not, and employment would remain employment at will, allowing termination under the circumstances you describe. Therefore, a key issue is what exactly your handbook says; you should bring a copy to an employment law attorney to review with you.

Also, it is illegal to discriminate in employment against those age 40 or older; if there is reason to believe your termination was age-related (which includes terminating older, more experienced, and higher-compensated employess in favor of less-expensive younger staff), you may have a discrimination claim, which is something else to discuss with your attorney.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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