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Managing wrongful termination claims in the workplace

Employees are protected from unfair firing by various federal and state laws. In the event that an employer decides to fire a worker, the company should be able to demonstrate that the firing was not a result of discrimination. If not, the business could potentially face a wrongful termination lawsuit. Individuals in Wisconsin on both sides of the issue may be interested to know what actions show a proper dismissal and what actions may suggest that a person is being released because of bias. 

Experts urge employers to keep their cool and be sure to act after any periods of great emotion have passed. Consulting with the team, especially human resource managers, is also recommended. When the time comes to act on the dismissal, the experts also say that the manager should have his or her remarks rehearsed, and then stick to the plan.

There are a few instances of firing that may throw up red flags to employees and officials that the termination may not be justified. An employee's record of any warnings or penalties will be important to back up claims of poor performance. If the record does not show a bad history, the firing can be questioned. The timing of the release may also indicate that something isn't quite right, especially if it comes on the heels of a pregnancy announcement, whistleblowing or filing complaints. 

Many worker protections have been codified into law so that they are not unfairly terrorized by unscrupulous employers. While the vast majority of employers do not fit this description, both employer and employee should be conscious of their rights and responsibilities. A wrongful termination case is harmful to both parties, and can hopefully be avoided with good policy. In Wisconsin, an employee who feels that he or she may have been the victim of wrongful termination has the right to contact an attorney in order to pursue a claim in civil court. 

Source:, "7 tips for reducing the risk of a wrongful termination claim", Kyra Kudick, Aug. 17, 2017

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