Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 6, 2020

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As a general matter, employment in the United States is employment at will, which means that there need not be just cause for termination. However, once you become a member of a union, an employment agreement is generally negotiated and put into place. Within that employment contract may be a provision stipulating that you may only be fired for just cause. If you have such an employment contract and are trying to find out whether or not you were fired legally, you will need to review the terms of your employment contract and union membership in order to find the definition of just cause.

Understanding Just Cause

Once you know what constitutes just cause for termination, you can determine whether you engaged in behavior that would be considered a firing offense and you can also determine whether your employer followed proper procedure. For example, if you were terminated for being late but your company handbook stipulates that you must get one warning for tardiness before being fired, then you may have been fired in violation of your contract.

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Enforcing an Employment Agreement

If you believe you were fired without just cause or outside of the proper procedures provided in your employment contract, you should contact your union representative. He or she can assist you in determining whether the proper termination procedures laid out in the employment agreement were followed. If you were fired unjustly, your union representative can also take the proper steps to deal with the employer on your behalf, and will represent your interests to your employer.

If your union representative is not able to get justice for you and if you still believe you were fired unfairly and in violation of your union or employment contract, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced employment law attorney. Your employment lawyer can explain to you what options you may have and can help you take proper legal action.