What to do if you are terminated from a job of 25 years and the reasons for termination don’t seem on the up and up?

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What to do if you are terminated from a job of 25 years and the reasons for termination don’t seem on the up and up?

My sister was terminated from a nursing job in a nursing home where she has worked for 25 years. The reasons given were rather lame (she used 3 of her sick days last year; she wore a uniform to work one day that wasn’t a dark enough navy blue). It seems that the termination was because she is at the top of the pay scale and benefit scale and they waited until after the first of the year so she, apparently, will also lose all of her past vacation time.

Asked on January 25, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Minnesota

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Generally, employers may terminate employees who are not protected by employment contracts (including union agreements) at any time for any reason. That said, employers may not discriminate against employees for certain reasons, such as for being over 40 years old. Often, firing a very senior and highly compensated employee is seen as age discrimination, if there is not some other valid reason (e.g. poor performance) for it. Your sister might therefore have a legal cause of action, for illegal age discrimination, and should consult with an employment law attorney to explore her options and rights.


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