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Can You Sue An Employer Who Lied About Reason For Termination?

  • By: Micah Longo, Esq.
  • Published: July 10, 2023
Can You Sue An Employer Who Lied About Reason For Termination?

You’ve just been fired, and you’re lucky enough to have the reason why explained to you (hopefully in writing). So, can you sue if your employer lied about the reason for termination? Well, it depends on the “true reason” for your termination, not the reason given by your employer. An employee can be fired for a good reason, a bad reason, reason based on false facts, or for no reason at all. The question is whether it was for a non-discriminatory reason. Reasons like favoritism, mistake, or disdain are irrelevant and may be lawful.

Florida Unlawful Termination Laws: Know Your Rights

If you’re in Florida as an employee, it’s crucial to understand that the law protects you from being unfairly terminated. Discrimination on the grounds of race, national origin, age, sex, religion, or disability is strictly prohibited. In simpler terms, these are your protected rights. Employers cannot demote, reduce your salary, or transfer you based on these protected categories. However, they have the liberty to make such decisions for any reason that doesn’t discriminate. If you believe you’ve been wrongfully terminated:

  1. Ensure you belong to a protected class.
  2. Prove you were treated differently than other employees outside this category.

The ball then rolls into the employer’s court, and they must provide a valid, non-discriminatory reason for their actions. While some reasons might sound absurd, like wearing white shoes after Labor Day, they’re technically legal. However, if you can demonstrate their reasoning is just a cover-up for discrimination, you could have a strong case. Standing up to such challenges is tough, but that’s what we’re here for.

Florida Employment Laws You Should Ask A Lawyer About

For employees in Florida, it’s noteworthy that the state is bolstering its employment protections. In a constantly changing legal landscape, it’s crucial to be informed about the updated laws against wrongful termination. Some recent additions to the law include:

  • New policies on non-compete agreements.
  • Clarifications on at-will employment.
  • Rights for those terminated for refusing to partake in illegal activities.

For more details on these policies or any other questions related to wrongful termination, please reach out to us for a tailored consultation today.

Business Decision Rule

A plaintiff cannot replace his or her business judgment with that of the employer. A court will not second-guess the judgment (or lack thereof) of an employer’s business decision. In truth, the judgment of the employer is irrelevant under the business decision rule. As long as decisions were not made with a discriminatory motive, the termination is lawful. This is true no matter how out-of-date an employer’s practices. No matter how arrogant its’ decision process. No matter how mistaken the managers or supervisors.

Disagreeing with Employer’s Reason

Plaintiff cannot win by simply disagreeing with the logic of the employer’s reason. The court will not hear arguement as to whether they are, in fact, a good employee. Whether a plaintiff’s work was actually poor or whether a plaintiff actually violated company policy is not an issue for the court to decide. The question will never be the correctness of the employer’s conclusion that the plaintiff’s performance was poor, or whether the decision to terminate was fair. Instead, the court’s only concern is whether unlawful discriminatory animus motivated the decision.

Anti-discrimination laws do not require employer’s needs and expectations to be reasonable. Like in the above example, one could be lawfully fired for wearing white shoes after Labor Day. To the average person this doesn’t seem like a reasonable reason for firing someone. Remember, the law only bans employers from discriminating on the basis of membership in a protected class. The court will not sit as a “super-personnel department,” and it is not their role to second-guess the judgment of an employer’s business decision.

More Information

Why You Should Contact A Florida Wrongful Termination Lawyer

So, if an employer lies about the reason for termination for the purpose of covering up unlawful discriminatory animus, then the plaintiff likely has a case. However, a plaintiff cannot win an unlawful termination lawsuit by simply disputing or disagreeing with the employer’s decision or logic.

The best way to find out if you can sue is to contact a qualified employment lawyer in your state.

Micah J. Longo
The Longo Firm, P.A.
12555 Orange Drive, #233
Davie, FL 33330
Tel: (954) 862-3608

Micah Longo, Esq.

Attorney Micah Longo is the founding member
and managing attorney of The Longo Firm. A
Pennsylvania native, Micah Longo...Read More