As a long-term employee, you have a certain protection against employers firing in bad faith, but it’s not always a simple concept. What constitutes a “long-term” employee? What is “bad faith”? It’s important for you to get informed and understand the ins and outs of employment law.
Here’s a section of my book “The Employee Rights Handbook” that deals with just that. Read now and get informed!
Implied Covenants of Good Faith and Fair Dealing
Courts in some states have further eroded the at-will doctrine by imposing a duty of good faith and fair dealing on long-term employment relationships. Typically, the duty of employers to act in good faith and fair dealing only applies to cases where an employee has been working for the company for many years or where a person is fired just before he or she is supposed to receive anticipated financial benefits (commissions, bonuses, accrued pension, profit sharing, etc.).
But not all longtime workers are entitled to such protection. Remember that if an employer fires you for a lawful reason (i.e., for cause), the fact that you have been with the company for a substantial time or are eligible for a substantial benefit may not make the firing illegal under a covenant of good faith and fair dealing theory.
STRATEGY: If you are fired at the end of the year and are denied a year-end bonus or other benefits about to vest in the following year, consult a lawyer immediately to enforce your rights. Pension or stock option benefits about to vest within six months to a year of a firing can often be obtained via negotiations. For a bonus, a stronger claim can be made if you are fired within three months of the expected payment date. Sometimes a company will agree to keep you on unpaid leave status during the appropriate period as a way of qualifying. Speak to your lawyer about this negotiating strategy for more details.
If you cannot get your job back using a violation of good faith and fair dealing argument, you or a lawyer may be able to negotiate for you to obtain benefits you were expecting and would have received but for the firing. You should also consider asserting a claim for benefits based on ERISA rights. However, if an employer fires you for a lawful reason—that is, for cause—the fact that you are about to become eligible for a substantial benefit may not make the firing illegal.
For a full depth analysis on this topic and many more, visit http://legalstrategiespublishing.com/ to purchase “The Employee Rights Handbook” today!