What can I do if I was wrongfully terminated?

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What can I do if I was wrongfully terminated?

I was an HR Coordinator. We had a new Director of Nursing start last year who promoted a hostile environment. All staff knew this. I was never written up and I was voted employee of the month 6 months ago. However, about 3 weeks ago I was terminated for letting a CNA certification lapse. In our handbook it says that all CNA/NURSES are responsible to renew their certifications/licenses and to notify the manager if not renewed. I posted a note in break room for a reminder for staff to make sure they renew it is their responsibility .

Asked on May 16, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Contrary to common opinion, it is perfectly legal to have a "hostile" work environment, so long as the hostility is not based on one of a handful of specifically protected reasons: an employer may not be hostile to you based on your race, color, country of origin, sex, age 40 or over, religion, or disability. (Under federal law; your state may add a few more categories--some states do, some don't.) However, hostility based on anything else, including simple personal dislike, or the manager simply being a poorly socialized or nasty person, is legal. So unless you can show that you were the victim of discrimination or harassment due to one of these protected grounds, there would not be an EEOC case or other employment discrimination claim; but if you were discriminated against or harassed because of your inclusion in a protected class or group, then you are already doing the correct thing, by contacting the EEOC.
Bear in mind that all employment in this nation is "employment at will" unless you have a written employment contract for a defined period of time (e.g. a one-year, three-year, etc.) which has not yet expired. If you do have such a contract and were terminated in violation of it, you could sue for "breach of contract." But without such a contract, you may be fired at any time, for any reason, without prior notice and regardless of your past performance, unless the reason for termination for illegal discrimination, as discussed above.


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