Considerations surrounding key employee termination

On Behalf of | Jan 15, 2020 | Employment Law |

Today’s blog post at the long-tenured Delaware employment law firm of Martin D. Haverly targets a relatively narrow and specific audience.

Namely, that is the workplace demographic of higher-tier (read executive) employees. That worker realm is notably confined when contrasted to a company’s population of rank-and-file workers, of course, yet it is also similar in many ways.

It is important to note, for example, that Delaware company executives have many of the same protections that other workers do when facing employment-linked challenges that threaten their careers or livelihood.

Job termination is a case in point. Arguably, it might seem commonplace to some that the security of high-level workers is wholly tied to the whims of one or more senior decision makers at a company.

That is often partially true, but the actions of those individuals — regarding even an at-will employee — cannot be arbitrary or capricious. We stress on our website that, “Just because Delaware is an ‘at-will state’ does not that [a high-tier worker] cannot file a wrongful termination suit.”

Here’s the bottom line required for an employer to have sufficient legal rationale in a key-worker firing, which we prominently underscore on our website: Termination “must have been in breach of an employment contract.”

Candidly, that is not the case in legions of termination actions in Delaware and nationally. It is revealed time and again across the country that firings are pretextual. That is, the reasons supplied for termination are false, with company action actually being guided by illegal aims.

A wrongful termination complaint has instant traction when it can be demonstrated that a firing was wrongly based on an employer’s motivations linked with race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, national origin or another protected category. The same is true when it is discovered that termination linked with a worker coming forward in good faith to report unlawful company conduct or to spotlight dangerous working conditions.

High-tier employees can marshal such arguments with the same force and validity as can other workers in an enterprise.

We welcome contacts to the firm from Delaware workers having questions or concerns regarding any employment law matter.