wrongful termination briefly explained

I find myself advising certain information repeatedly to potential and actual clients about how a wrongful termination lawsuit is going to roll. One of the things I often explain to them is the concept of “pretext.” I tell them that almost never will the employer tell you that you were fired because, say, you complained to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration. Usually, if you get a reason for your termination, it is because of something else. Most wrongful termination cases are going to come down to whether the employer’s claimed reason is really just pretext or a cover-up for the real reason you were fired–the safety complaint. And, the courts you will be going through to sue for wrongful termination have a fairly specific understanding of what “pretext” is.

Most of the time, I am told that the reason was pretty stupid, insignificant and even morally wrong. These may not actually prove cover-up, at least, in the mind of the courts. Pretext is specifically either 1) that the reason is factually untrue and the employer could not believed it to be true, 2) other employees were not treated the same for the same reason, and 3) other circumstances strongly suggest that the employer was motivated to fire because of the illegal reason and not the pretextual one. ¬†Stupidity, insignificance or morally wrong decisions aren’t going to be pretextual unless you have some additional information that shows the reason was pretextual according the specific definition above.

Email me at robertlreilman@yahoo.com for a free  email consultation if you believe you were wrongfully fired.

NOTE: please keep in mind that this blog is not meant to be legal advice. Consult a lawyer if you need legal advice.

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