What to do about a wrongful termination?

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What to do about a wrongful termination?

I’ve been a C.N.A for 35 years and have no prior write-ups. I was fired because a nurse stated I refused to shave a resident. I never refused. This company is a leader in health care with over 30 plus homes. I’m due to retire and I feel they are cheating me from my benefits, vacation and pension.

Asked on May 8, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you do not have an employment contract, you are an employee at will, and--except as per the below--may be terminated at any time, for any reason, even if you had a previously sterling record.

(If you have an employment contract, which includes a union agreement, it is enforceable, and you cannot be terminated in a way which violates it; if you do have a contract, review it to see your rights.)

The above said, certain kinds of discrimination in employment are barred by law. For example, it is illegal to discriminate against employees age 40 and over (which you clearly are). That's not to say that it an older employee cannot be fired, but he or she cannot be fired primarily due to his or her age. Even if the employer ostensibly claims a non-age-related reason for termination, it may be illegal age-based discrimination if there is nothing to support that claim and it is essentially a pretext for firing an older employee. (Older employees are often targeted for termination to save their larger salaries and benefits, and not for any legally valid reason.)

Based on what you writ,e this may be illegal age-related discrimination; it would be worthwhile consulting with an employment law attorney to evaluate the situation and your possible rights and recourse in greater detail. If it is illegal discrimination, you may have a significant legal claim, including for the pension and benefits which you have been denied. Good luck.


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