Rex A. Christensen PLLC

Reach Rex A. Christensen at:

Wrongful Termination – Union Member
  1. Home
  2.  » 
  3. Employment Law
  4.  » Wrongful Termination – Union Member

Can I Still Sue For Wrongful Termination If I Am In A Union?

You can still sue for wrongful termination if you are in a union, but it is a good idea to check with your union rep first before calling an attorney, just to find out what the union’s position is on what was done to you as the employee.

At the very heart of being in a union is the employee’s ability to band together with other employees into a collective bargaining unit to negotiate more favorable terms than they would be able to do if they were negotiating individually. Therefore, if an employee is a member of a union, the terms of that employment will likely be covered by collective bargaining agreement. Collective bargaining agreements often have grievance or other dispute resolution procedures for when the collective bargaining agreement has been violated or if the employee’s other rights as have been violated.

If the union will take up your case and can provide attorneys to do that, then the wronged employee can save the attorney’s fees that she would otherwise incur to hire an attorney. However, if the union is not willing to fight for the employee or if it falls outside of the things that are covered by the collective bargaining agreement, then federal and state laws against discrimination and against retaliation still apply. These protections do not automatically get set to the side simply because the employee is a member of the union.

Does My Employer Have To Give Me A Reason Before Firing Me?

Under Arizona’s employment laws, your employer does not have to give you a reason for having fired you. If there is a collective bargaining agreement in place, then perhaps the employer will be required to provide a reason. Without such a policy in place, the employer is not required to give a reason, because the employer technically is not even required to have a reason for the termination.

If I Was Sick And Had To Take A Leave Of Absence, Is It Wrong For Me To Be Fired?

If an employee is sick, takes a leave of absence and then is fired upon his return to work, this certainly looks like retaliation. However, the mere fact that an employee was on medical leave and then was fired after returning does not automatically mean this was illegal retaliation. For example, if a company is going through layoffs, and the employee who took medical leave would have been laid off anyway, then it is not truly in retaliation for taking medical leave, and so his firing would not be illegal. In addition, the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1996 (“FMLA”) is the law that is most commonly used to protect employees against retaliation for taking medical leave, as it has a specific anti-retaliation provision. However, not everyone is covered under FMLA, either because their employer is too small (less than 50 employees), or because the employee has been employed there for less than a year, or because the employee was part-time (the FMLA protects those employees who worked at least 1,250 hours within the year immediately preceding their termination). In such circumstances, even if the termination was clearly in retaliation for taking leave, the anti-retaliation laws would not apply to that employee. In addition, even if the anti-retaliation law was in effect, it is not always clear what the employer’s motivations were for firing the employee. If there was a legitimate nonretaliatory reason to justify the firing, then an employee does not get a free pass just because he happened to take medical leave.

It is helpful for a fired employee to discuss his situation with a wrongful termination attorney to explore his options. It might seem clear to the employee that he was fired in retaliation for taking medical leave, and maybe that is true. However, before initiating any formal complaints against the employer, it can be useful to get input and advice from a knowledgeable wrongful termination attorney who can explore the strengths and weaknesses of the case to make sure it is actually worth pursuing.

If I Have Refused My Employer’s Advances And Was Fired, Is This Illegal?

If you are fired specifically in retaliation for refusing your superior’s advances, this is illegal and would constitute wrongful termination. Unlike other laws where there is a minimum number of employees that an employer has to have before these anti-discrimination laws would apply, sexual harassment does not fall into that category. Any employer of any size can be liable for sexual harassment including wrongful termination for refusing sexual advances of an employer.

It is also important to separate the sexual harassment from the wrongful termination. For example, the harassed employee may have been a horrible employee with performance issues, attendance issues and just a horrible fit for the company. In other words, the employer may have had a long list of legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for firing the employee. However, this does not justify harassing behavior and does not give the employer a free pass on the harassment. The harassment can provide its own independent basis for claiming employment discrimination, totally separate from the question of whether her termination was justified.

For more information on Suing For Wrongful Termination In Arizona, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling 1-480-582-1287 today.