You worked hard to earn a promotion to CIO. Getting the promotion represented the crown achievement on your resume. Now, you have to deal with your company firing you without cause. Is this legal and if it is, are there any circumstances when termination crosses the legal line into unlawful territory?
Even a CIO can be fired without cause and in some cases for a legitimate cause. However, your employer cannot commit an act of wrongful termination on a CIO by violating state or federal law. If you have been wrongfully terminated as a CIO, you have the right to fight back by filing a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages.
Can a CIO be Fired without Cause?
A CIO can be fired without cause under a legal doctrine called employment at-will. As a doctrine used by employers in virtually every state, employment at-will means employers do not have to describe a reason for letting an employee go. For example, a CEO can terminate a CIO simply to hire a more qualified candidate. Although the CEO has a valid reason to fire the CIO, the CFO does not have to describe why the CIO got fired.
At-will employment also means an employer can modify the terms of employment for a CIO, without giving notice or suffering any legal consequences. Your CEO can change your compensation, as well as reduce the number of benefits you receive.
What is Wrongful Termination?
Wrongful termination represents an act made by an employer that state or federal law considers to be illegal. For example, an employer cannot fire a CIO based on race, gender, national origin, and sexual orientation. Firing a CIO for discriminatory reasons violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In addition to firing a CIO based on discriminatory reasons, your employer cannot terminate you as retaliation for you acting as a whistleblower.
Because a CIO is an important role for a company, some CEOs require CIOs to sign employment contracts that describe criteria such as terms of employment. Having a written contract in place can help a CIO avoid getting fired without cause because the contract stipulates the conditions that allow the CEO to terminate the CIO.
What Are the Possible Monetary Damages for CFO Wrongful Termination?
If your employer wrongfully terminated you, state and federal employment statutes give you the right to file a civil lawsuit that asks for just compensation. The amount of money awarded to you for winning a civil lawsuit depends on several factors.
First, the judge hearing your case takes into account economic damages. For virtually every type of wrongful termination case, economic damages include lost wages and expenses such as the costs associated with searching for a new job. You also have the right to seek monetary damages for suffering from emotional distress. Losing a job unjustifiably can trigger acute anxiety and mental anguish as well. If your employer committed an act or acts of negligence when firing you wrongfully, you should ask the court to award you punitive damages.
Contact an Employment Lawyer
Losing a job for an illegal reason should motivate you to seek the legal expertise of an employment attorney. A lawyer can help you gather and organize evidence, as well as prepare you for the trial phase of the legal process. Your attorney might help you avoid a trial by negotiating a settlement with your former employer.
Schedule a free case evaluation to determine how to proceed with your CFO wrongful termination case.