Despite being relatively common, many employees who suffer wrongful termination never get the restitution they deserve. This is mainly due to the complex laws surrounding illegal vs. legal termination. In many cases, employers use the complexity of labor laws to cover up their misconduct, making it challenging to prove wrongful termination.
If you believe you may have been wrongfully terminated, hire one of the experienced employment law attorneys at Fieger Law. Our attorneys can help you gather evidence to support your case and seek compensation for the fallout of your termination.
What is Wrongful Termination in Michigan?
Wrongful termination refers to ending a person’s employment for illegal (often discriminatory) reasons rather than for legitimate reasons. In Michigan, firing an employee is only considered “wrongful termination” when certain exceptions to the state’s at-will employment laws apply.
Proving wrongful termination is especially difficult in Michigan and requires the help of a skilled attorney like those at Fieger Law. We can review the circumstances of your case and help you determine if wrongful termination occurred and how best to move forward.
What is At-Will Employment in Michigan?
Like most of the United States, Michigan uses an at-will policy for employment. At-will is an arrangement where employees can quit anytime and for any reason. However, under an at-will agreement, an employer may also fire an employee at any time and for almost any reason.
Protections—including for gender, religion, and race—do exist where wrongful termination applies. It’s vital to work with a lawyer from Fieger Law to examine the circumstances of your case and find evidence that wrongful termination occurred under Michigan law.
What Qualifies as Wrongful Termination in Michigan?
In Michigan, your termination may be considered illegal if your employer fired you under the following circumstances:
- Breach of Contract: Breach of contract refers to termination that breaks procedural rights granted by your employment contract. For example, your employer doesn’t honor your right to notice or right to remedy issues related to employment.
- Violation of Public Policy: If an employer terminates you based on issues like refusing to perform illegal activities or exercising your right to free speech, it may violate public policy. This type of wrongful termination case is complex but can result in compensation for the victim with the right legal representation.
- Discriminated Against a Protected Class: You may have a case for wrongful termination if your employer violates anti-discrimination laws, such as those that protect age, color, race, gender, religion, disability, or marital status.
What Protections for At-Will Employees Exist in Michigan?
There are several federal laws, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act of 1963, that prevent employers from firing employees under certain circumstances:
- Discrimination: It is illegal for an employer to fire you based on your race, skin color, national origin, sex, pregnancy status, religion, disability, genetic makeup, or age (over 40 years old) in the United States. In 2022, Michigan’s Supreme Court ruled that Michigan’s Civil Rights law also protects employees from being fired for their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Breach of contract: If you and your employer have signed a contract detailing the necessary conditions for termination, at-will laws are not applicable. Instead, the employer must abide by the terms outlined in the contract.
- Retaliation: Federal law protects employees from being fired as a result of filing a complaint, participating in an investigation, or taking part in a lawsuit against the employer. This law also allows employees to confer with other employees about their pay, so long as the employee is acting in good faith in an attempt to uncover suspected discrimination.
- The exercising of legal rights: You cannot be fired for exercising legal rights guaranteed to you, nor can you be fired for missing work for legal obligations. This covers employees who must testify in a trial or participate in jury duty.
Things You Can Do to Make it Easier to Prove Wrongful Termination
While wrongful termination cases can be challenging to prove, you can help your lawyer build a solid case. If you are a victim of wrongful termination, take the following actions:
- Document and Gather Evidence: Document or record conversations regarding your termination. If your state or employer’s policies prevent recording conversations (it is worth noting Michigan law allows you to record conversations without all participants’ consent only if it is a conversation in which you yourself are a participant), you may have to take notes or email your supervisor with a recap of the conversation. Save all emails, texts, or other correspondences to help support your case.
- Hire an Experienced Employment Law Attorney: The best thing you can do to improve your chances of seeing a positive outcome is to hire an attorney with experience handling employment law cases, like those at Fieger Law. Since employment law is complex, choose an attorney with an established track record of winning your type of case.
Do You Need an Employment Discrimination Lawyer?
Filing and winning an employment discrimination case is challenging and complex. Your best chance of success is with an employment discrimination attorney from Fieger Law. We have proven our ability to win wrongful termination cases for our clients and will fight for your rights against a discriminatory employer.
The competency of your attorney can ultimately determine the outcome of your case, which is why it is so important to choose a law firm experienced in employment law. Our attorneys can help gather relevant evidence, perform necessary legal or administrative tasks, and represent you in negotiations or court proceedings.
Contact Fieger Law today to see how we can help you win your wrongful termination case. We represent clients from across the country, so no matter where you are, call or message us online to schedule a free initial consultation and start on the path toward restitution.