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Even 'belligerent' employee entitled to earned compensation

When an employee is terminated from their employment, a company often tries to make it short and uneventful. Sometimes when an employee is terminated in such a manner, the employee may not receive their entitled wage compensation for all final hours worked for the employer. If the employee is fired for protected reasons in Missouri, the employee may have a cause of action for wrongful termination and an additional cause of action for failure to pay.

When a former employee files a wrongful termination lawsuit against their former employer in Missouri, the employee must prove the elements required for a finding of wrongful termination. In a recent wrongful termination lawsuit filed by a terminated employee, the jury determined the employee did not prove his employment termination was unlawful and ultimately was not able to prove that it was wrongful. A ruling such as this does not affect eligibility to receive compensation for wages that went unpaid.

The employee, a 33-year-old male, was hired to work for a private retail employer on May 5, 2011. The employee was terminated from his employment on May 25, 2011. The employer claimed the former employee's termination was the result of his insubordinate behavior that was considered rude and argumentative. In support of this claim, the employer referenced a telephone conversation between the employee and the employer's human resource department. During this conversation, the employee was allegedly belligerent.

In addition to the former employee's wrongful termination claim, the former employee claimed he did not receive his entitled wages. It turns out the employer did transfer the former employees wages to the bank account provided by the employee, but the employee provided the employer with an incorrect bank account number. The error was corrected and the employee received his wage compensation.

Source: Globe Gazette, "Jury finds for business in wrongful termination lawsuit," Peggy Senzarino, Dec. 19, 2012

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