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When can an employer be sued for wrongful termination?

On Behalf of | Sep 3, 2021 | Employer Concerns |

Most employers in Kentucky want to provide a safe and productive work environment for their employees. However, sometimes incidents come up following the discipline of an employee especially if the employee is ultimately terminated. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the employee’s claim, accusations of wrongful termination may follow. It is important for employers and employees to understand what constitutes wrongful termination.

What is wrongful termination?

A case of wrongful termination exists if an employer allegedly let a worker go for an illegal reason. For example, if an employer fires an employee for being a “whistleblower” or for a discriminatory reason, the employee may have grounds for a wrongful termination claim. Otherwise, employment in Kentucky is “at-will” meaning an employer does not need a reason to fire an employee, as long as the termination does not violate the law or public policy. Note that if an employee has an employment contract or collective bargaining agreement then the terms of that contract must be honored if the employee is being disciplined or fired.

How can employers defend themselves against wrongful termination claims?

Employers who wish to defend themselves against claims of wrongful termination will have to show that their actions were not based on discrimination, a violation of company policy, union activities or in retaliation to a report of unlawful behavior on the part of the employer. It is important to note that there are no laws that specifically protect workers from being wrongfully terminated. Instead, a wrongful termination claim can only be based on a breach of federal law or state law.

Don’t let a wrongful termination derail you

Workers who believe they have a viable wrongful termination claim will want to explore all their options for resolving the situation. Similarly, if an employer is facing a wrongful termination or retaliation claim they will want to know all of their options for defending against the claim. Ultimately, it is important for both sides to come to a resolution that they both feel is fair, whether this is through out-of-court negotiations or through the litigation process.