One of the most important things that you can do to help your own case, especially in situations like a wrongful terminations claim where you know the other party is going to try hard to justify their actions, is always make sure your attorney has all the details.
It’s an important step to take, even if some of those details (especially if taken out-of-context) are unflattering.
For example, Prudential Financial Incorporated is fighting a retaliation lawsuit for wrongful termination brought by three former employees. All three allege that they were fired after they blew the whistle on a business partner that was selling term life insurance policies to customers without telling the customers.
Prudential maintains the timing of the firings was coincidental and that the employees were fired for “inappropriate and unacceptable workplace misconduct” for sending text messages back and forth that the company found “inexcusable,” “profane” and “degrading.” They also accuse at least one of the employees of making an ethnic slur.
Prudential says that the texts show repeated violation of company principles and expected behavior between employees.
What do the attorneys for the three plaintiffs have to say in response?
“We expected them to use this.” The plaintiffs’ attorneys say that they knew about the texts and that they were all done on personal time, from personal devices, and had to do with management issues that were eventually investigated and found to be accurate.
While Prudential might be hoping to use the text messages as a pretext to justify the firings, the comments from the plaintiff’s attorneys indicate that they are already prepared to point to those as “concerted activity,” in which two or more employees engage in discussion about their employment for their mutual benefit. Such conversations are protected speech under the National Labor Relations Act.
The plaintiffs were particularly wise to make sure that their attorneys were aware of the text messages and everything they contained. That not only let their legal team know in advance what to expect but allowed them to respond coolly and rationally to allegations that could sidetrack a case by getting people in an emotional uproar.
For more information on how our team approaches wrongful termination claims, please see our page.