Learn How To Apply For Unemployment Claims With Our Guide

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What is a wrongful termination and how do employees handle? Unlawful termination occurs when an employer fires an employee based on discrimination or breach of contract.

Employees wrongfully terminated from jobs have the right to file a discrimination charge against the company. Wrongful termination in Michigan can lead to many issues for the employee such as financial hardships and emotional distress.

Employees wrongfully fired from jobs have legal options to recoup losses. Michigan state laws protect former employers who have experienced wrongful dismissal by allotting different solutions like mediation with the former employer.

Employers who have wrongfully terminated employees will face the consequences of breaking federal and state laws only if the terminated employees pursue a claim and subsequent lawsuit.

Michigan Unemployment Resources

Types of Illegal Termination in Michigan

Several types of illegal dismissal of employment are due to discrimination or retaliation practices by employers. Discriminatory types of unlawful terminations include race, sex, pregnancy, age, marital status, disability or religion.

Other discriminatory types of unlawful termination from employment include national origin, AIDS/HIV diagnosis or citizenship status. Other types of illegal firings include breach of contracts, where an employer fires an employee for a reason not stated under his or her contract.

There are also types of illegal terminations in Michigan that pertain to wage and hour issues where an employer cannot fire any employee who testifies for the Wage Deviation Board. This would be a form of retaliation against the employee. Many employees do not realize there are types of illegal termination of employment dealing with time off, where an employer will fire an employee for civic and personal obligations.

Time off work for military leave, voting, jury duty and terms under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) are not eligible reasons for termination.

Employers do have legal reasons for terminating employees in Michigan including mediocre performance and lack of work. Types of legal dismissal of employment include the end of a contract between the employee and employer.

Both parties expect these types of legal termination of employment, as the parties discussed the length of the contract prior to any work beginning. When an employee’s dismissal falls under any of the types of legal firings he or she cannot pursue a wrongful termination suit.

Some employers will offer severance and former employees can collect unemployment benefits for layoffs. Before pursuing a wrongful termination, employees will need to review the types of legal termination in Michigan to ensure eligibility for the process. This will save the employee time, money and resources before pursuing charges that can potentially lead to a loss.

At-Will Employment Exceptions in Michigan

When researching, “Is Michigan an at will state?” many employees find the answer complicated. While it is an at-will state, Michigan also has exceptions to at will employment including public policy, implied contract and covenant of good faith, which can confuse workers. What is employment at will?

The basis of at-will employment is the employer can discharge the employee at any moment for any legal reason. This does not apply to employers with contracts because the existence of a contract between the employer and employee is the opposite of at-will employment.

At will employment exceptions in Michigan allow discharged employees to file a wrongful termination case against the employer. The public policy exception applies when an employer terminates an employee for refusing to break the law, refusing to discriminate against an applicant or refusing to lie under oath.

The implied contract exceptions to at will employment means there was a verbal contract between the employer and employee. This could mean the employer implied job security by using definitive phrases like, “You will always have a job with us if you leave your old employer.” The covenant of good faith exception is when an employer underhanded fires an employee regardless of job performance.

Filing a Discrimination Charge With the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Michigan

Former employees can file a wrongful termination discrimination charge if they experienced termination for any type of illegal firing. The first step in filing a charge of discrimination in Michigan is to contact an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) office within 180 days of termination.

Former employees can file a wrongful termination discrimination charge online, in person, by mail and by telephone. The EEOC office will review the charge and either ask for more information or begin the investigation. Employees should note that an online request does not institute an investigation but will determine the eligibility of the case.

Knowing how to file a charge of employment discrimination is only the beginning. Within 10 days of filing a charge of discrimination in Michigan, the EEOC office will notify the employer of the charge and may request both the employer and former employee to attend mediation.

If EEOC does not recommend mediation or it did not result in a resolution, the next part of how to file an EEOC employment discrimination is for the EEOC to investigate. During the investigation, EEOC officers will contact the employer, conduct interviews and review documents.

Both parties involved will then receive a determination. There will be three possible outcomes; a Notice of Right to Sue, a voluntary settlement or an agency lawsuit. The EEOC will inform former employees whether the agency can pursue a lawsuit or if the employee will need to contact an attorney.

Filing a Lawsuit Against Your Employer in Michigan

Can I file a lawsuit for wrongful termination? Before suing for wrongful termination in Michigan the EEOC will need to issue a Notice of Right to Sue to the former employer. Filing a wrongful termination claim against employers requires the employee to provide evidence like pay stubs, contracts, agreements and testimonies.

Former employees who file lawsuits against employers for wrongful termination will need to prove that the discharge was unlawful and due to discrimination or retaliation. Former employees wondering how to file a wrongful termination lawsuit should consider hiring an attorney. An attorney will be able to represent the employee and ensure proper handling of the case.

Remember, to file a lawsuit against your employer in Michigan there must first be an EEOC discrimination charge where the agency finds the Notice of Right to Sue.

Last Updated: October 18, 2022