Monthly Archives: March 2015

Wrongful Termination Guide For Employers

Being accused of wrongful termination is no laughing matter- in fact, if your company is found to be liable, you may wind up with financial responsibility for your actions. This is to say nothing of the other repercussions at stake, such as your reputation and the potentially public nature of a court case. If you have been named in a wrongful termination case in Houston, it may be beneficial to pursue resolution instead through mediation.

Employers cannot discriminate against an employee based on the employee’s membership in a protected class such as disability or race. Employers are also prohibited from firing an employee who had rights under public policy which he or she exercised- such as serving in the military, taking time off work to vote, taking time off to serve on a jury, or whistle blowing. Furthermore, employers cannot retaliate against employees who have engaged in some kind of protected activity, like filing a formal complaint with the company about discrimination or harassment, filing or talking about filing a workers’ compensation claim, and similar situations.

While the majority of employment contracts are “at will”, giving the employer the ability to fire an employee at any time for nearly any reasons, violations like those mentioned above could spur a Houston legal dispute over wrongful termination. Mediation may be a more private and efficient means to work through those disputes with former or current employees.

What Constitutes Wrongful Termination Under Federal Law?

While there is no specific federal “wrongful termination law”, there are a set of laws that, if violated by a Houston employer, could constitute the wrongful termination of that employee. Taken together, these are typically referred to as a wrongful discharge laws or wrongful termination laws in Houston.

If the employer violates public policy, state laws, or constitutional provisions, an employee may have the grounds for a wrongful termination suit. If the employer violated contracts linked to the employment, too, an individual might be able to argue wrongful termination in mediation or court.

Some of the most common laws that are referenced in Houston wrongful termination suits include federal and state discrimination laws, employment provisions outlined in the Fair Credit Reporting Act, rights granted by the U.S. Constitution, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the Americans with Disability Act.

As is briefly illustrated here, there are many laws that can impact a wrongful termination suit. Employers would be well advised to be clear on the wide array of laws and regulations governing these situations, as wrongful termination suits can be expensive in terms of time and money. More employers opt to nip these conflicts in the bud by attempting mediation first, which can be more private and valuable for both the employer and employee.

What is Employment Discrimination?

Employment discrimination is a broad term, but there are several laws in the United States related to preventing discrimination based on sex, religion, race, physical disability, national origin, and age. In addition to these factors, there are more laws evolving about preventing employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, too.

Discrimination is not just about hiring and firing, either. There are many different situations that could fall under the umbrella of Houston employment discrimination such as job assignment issues, compensation, retaliation, promotion, discipline, and harassment. Rights outlined in the U. S. Constitution provide some protections, but there are other laws in place to help prevent workplace discrimination or provide recourse for victims once it has already happened.

Some of the laws that may govern a workplace discrimination suit include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, , the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Uniform Services Employment & Reemployment Rights Act.

An individual who has been discriminated against because of his or her membership in a protected class could be seen as a victim of workplace discrimination. Whether it is hiring, promotions, general harassment in the workplace or termination, employees may be able to argue workplace discrimination in Houston mediation sessions or court.

Where To Find Wrongful Termination Mediators?

More individuals involved in Houston wrongful termination cases are turning to mediation to attempt to resolve their issues. Whether you’re trying out mediation at the outset of your case or whether you’ve already initiated some of the legal steps, it can be wise to see how mediation benefits your case and allows you and the other party to move on with your life post-dispute.

If you’re looking for a mediator, local or state organizations of mediators may have lists of relevant individuals with experience in the field of wrongful termination. You may also know someone who has gone through a case like this before and getting a referral is a good idea. Most professional mediators will have a website, too, which you might locate by searching the type of case you are involved in and the geographic area.

Finding a good mediator can have a significant impact on the outcome of your Houston wrongful termination case. In many situations, an experienced mediator can guide conversation meaningfully and allow you and the other party to reach a resolution much more quickly than you otherwise would. This has the added benefit of reducing the costs that you put into the case, allowing you and the other party to move on with your lives after the dispute. Do your research to identify the party most likely to help you resolve the case effectively.

Houston mediator, John W. Kelly, Jr., has been mediating employment discrimination cases since 1992, either as an advocate or neutral mediator. As an experienced employment mediator, he can assist the parties in identifying the strengths and weaknesses of their positions. Contact him today at 713-775-3003 or send him an email at johnkelly@experiencedhoustonmediator.com for a complimentary initial consultation.