Cantoria (2010) defines wrongful termination as a situation whereby an employer terminates an employment contract in a manner that violates one or more terms of the employment contract. Therefore, if litigation against the employer for wrongful dismissal is proved beyond any reasonable doubt, the complainant is paid for damages arising from the wrongful termination. This paper explicates two case examples of wrongful termination whereby one was proved wrong and the other was proved right.
The first case involves one, Ms. Sandy Baratta who was working at the capacity of a Vice President for Oracle Company. Ms. Baratta’s employment came to a sudden halt after the company found out that she was pregnancy and her act of whistle-blowing against her colleagues. In response, the company fired her. According to Wallack (2000), on filing a lawsuit against the company for her wrongful dismissal, the San Francisco Superior Court passed a ruling that indeed, Ms. Baratta was wrongfully dismissed and the judge ordered the company to pay a total sum of $2.7 million. This included compensation for the emotional distress she underwent after her wrongful termination. I conquer with the judge’s verdict based on the fact that Ms. Baratta was indeed wrongfully dismissed because the jury found out that her termination came about due to her pregnancy, which is not only illegal but also unethical.
Besides, Wallack (2000) unveils that, the court found Ms. Baratta’s whistle-blowing justified after proving that Oracle was reportedly lifting its close competitor’s software. In order to avoid this legal issue, the HR could not have fired the complainant on the aforementioned grounds because she had not done wrong and was acting on the best interest of the company. On the other hand, to avoid this legal issue, the employee should have approached the company’s Board of Directors before filing a lawsuit against the company. This case falls under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the employee protection law that mandates the protection of employees for whistle-blowing. The verdict may not rule in favor of the employee should the court find out that the company policy does not allow pregnant female executives and that whistle-blowing was certainly a fraudulent act.
The second case involves wrongful termination lawsuit by John Guz against his employer Bechtel Corporation. The employer filed a suit against his former employer claiming that his job at the company was wrongfully terminated yet he was on an implied contract, which he fully met as per the previous ruling on a similar case at the California courts. According to Cantoria (2010), the employer claimed that the company was experiencing a downtown in workload leading to its decision to disband the work unit where John Guz worked as the Financial Reports Supervisor. The California’s Supreme Court ruled against John Guz on the grounds that the length of services provided by the employee does not guarantee job security. I agree with this ruling simply because of the fact that an implied contract does not provide assurance for job security. The HR could have clearly stated in its company policy with regard to job policy that job longevity and promotions at work does not warranty work security in order to avoid the issue. On the other hand, Guz could have sought the help of the company executives regarding his dismissal before filing a suit against the company. This case calls upon the employment protection law to demystify what is and what is not right as per the case. However, the verdict may have favored the employer if he proved that the contract was indeed expressed and not implied.
From the foregoing case studies, it can be concluded that while there are wrongful dismissal, the law is always there to uncover the truth and protect both the employer and the employee.
Cantoria, C. S. (2010, August 14). Famous Cases of Wrongful Termination. Retrieved September 13, 2015, from Bright Hub:
Wallack, T. (2000, August 18). Ex-Oracle VP Wins $2.7 Million Suit. Retrieved September 13, 2015, from Rudy, Exelrod, Zieff & Lowe, LLP: