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Employment Agreements as a Shield Against Termination

Not every person who is fired was wrongfully terminated. In most cases, your boss can fire you just about any reason that he or she wants. There are a few exceptions for example; an employer is prohibited from firing someone based upon their gender, family status, age or ethnicity. Additionally, employers cannot fire people who report them for breaking the law or other whistleblower protections. But other than those few examples, most firings are perfectly legal (even if not justified).

The one exception to this general rule is if there is an employment contract. An employment contract is an agreement between you and your boss. Traditionally, most employees signed a contract with their employer. They agreed to perform "X" number of functions in exchange for "X" pay for "X" amount of years or months. The result was that neither the employer nor employee could unilaterally end the relationship.

The modern trend has been to hire people "at will." At will employment means either your or your boss can end the employee relationship at any time for (almost) any reason. At will employment can be abrogated if the employer distributes an employee handbook, company memorandum or adopts new policies. These documents can serve as either the basis for an actual contract or an implied contract. In either scenario, employees can use the provisions within those documents to limit the ability of their employer to fire them.

If you were fired from a job and you believe it may have violated your rights or against your employment contract, then you may want to call an attorney. Contracts, agreements and employee handbooks are all examples of employment contracts. Your employer must respect this agreement as much as you do. That means if there are any provisions regarding the proper procedure to let someone go, your employer must obey those provisions or be in violation of the contract. An attorney can review your situation and go over the contract to ensure that you were treated fairly.

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