Wrongful Termination – Right to Seek Legal Damages
Courts recognize a civil cause of action, allowing recovery of monetary damages, for wrongful termination. The general framework is well established: a court will award a victimized employee monetary damages for wrongful (or abusive) discharge against an employer when the motivation for the discharge contravenes a clear mandate of public policy. A determination as to whether a “clear mandate of public policy” has been violated in a particular case focuses upon traditional sources of law, namely: statutes, constitutions, regulations, and judicial decisions. This includes federal statutes and regulations.
What constitutes “public policy,” that will sustain a wrongful termination claim, is broader than merely tracking the plain language of a legal provision. If the underlying conduct at issue is plainly within the penumbra of constitutional, statutory, or judicial authority, then a clear mandate of public policy exists. For instance, in Watson v. Peoples Security Life Ins. Co., 322 Md. 467 (1991), the Court of Appeals held that it is contrary to a clear mandate of public policy to discharge an employee for seeking legal redress against a co-worker for workplace sexual harassment culminating in assault and battery, as one example. This right can be asserted in a court suit, if the terminated employee can otherwise state a viable claim.
Wrongful Termination – Additional Legal Remedies
In addition to the possibility of filing a court action, certain employees may have administrative remedies, seeking to preclude a wrongful termination. This is particularly true of government employees. As one example, State of Maryland employees, depending upon classification, have certain legal remedies before the State Office of Administrative Hearings (“OAH”). Baltimore City employees may be eligible to raise legal challenges to their proposed termination (including on grounds of lack of “just cause”), by seeking a hearing request before the Baltimore City Civil Service Commission. Similarly, certain federal employees have legal protections before the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, an independent agency established for the purpose of protecting federal merit system employees against partisan political and other prohibited personnel practices, and seeking to ensure adequate protection for federal employees against abuses by agency management.
Mallon LLC understands employment law and is willing to take on your wrongful termination lawsuit in Baltimore, MD,Prince George's County, MD, and throughout Maryland and Washington DC.
Please contact Mallon LLC for a free initial phone consultation regarding your potential legal rights.