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Wrongful termination may not work exactly how you think it does

When you think of wrongful termination, do you assume it means you can't be fired in a way that seems unfair or unjust? That's what many workers in Michigan assume, but the reality is that that's not exactly how the laws work.

For example, imagine that you come in to work and your boss already looks like he or she is in a bad mood. You need to ask some questions about how to do a job properly, and so you go ask. Your boss gets annoyed and fed up with you and just tells you that you're fired. That seems really unfair, right?

However, "at will" employment laws mean that your boss doesn't have to have a specific reason to terminate you. Being annoyed with your questions on a stressful day is reason enough. You can fired without cause.

This is why companies can fire employees, even good ones, just to save money. It's why an employee can be fired even if he or she is doing a fine job so that a different employee, that the company thinks will do an even better job, can be put into that position.

These aren't wrongful terminations. Your boss may tell you why you've been fired, but there's no obligation to do so. Plus, if pressed for a reason, he or she could just say it was performance related, saying that you had too many questions when the company needed an employee who just knew how to do the job.

Wrongful terminations are those that revolve around federal discrimination laws, in most cases. For instance, an employer can't fire an employee based on religion, race, age, gender and the like. If you have been fired for these reasons, be sure you know what legal options you have.

Source: Huffington Post, "Number One Workplace Right You Think Exists That Doesn't: Wrongful Termination," Donna Ballman, accessed Dec. 22, 2015

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