Wrongful termination of employees refers to when the employees are terminated on account of wrongful means. The different grounds on which the termination of employees is known as wrongful termination are-:
- Discrimination on the grounds of race, religion, caste, gender, age, rationality, and many more,
- When the company has specified certain guidelines for the termination of an employee and those guidelines are violated,
- If public policy is violated,
The Employment Contract signed by the employer and the employee defines the procedure of terminating the employee. The contract may or may not have provisions regarding the procedure for the termination of employees; if it contains a procedure, then it must comply with the Labour laws; however, if it does have any such specific procedure, then the employer must follow the state-specific labour law. The two types of terminations of employees are-:
Termination by Contract: The employment contracts specifies a particular procedure for the termination of the employee. This method of termination is more popular. This form of termination is more common in a fixed-term employment contract, where an employee is hired for a fixed period of time. If the contract is not renewed by the employer, then the employee is automatically terminated, which does not amount to wrongful termination.
Termination by Law: In the absence of a provision for the procedure of termination of an employee, the employer must follow the state-specific labour law.
Termination Procedures in India
Termination for a cause: of disobedience, theft, fraud, lack of punctuality, accepting of bribe, dishonest, causing damage to the company's goods, negligence of work.
Ordinary termination: is the most standard procedure for the termination of an employee. In it, the employer must provide the employee with 30 days' notice to the employee.
Laws to protect the employees from wrongful termination of employees
There are various labour laws in India, such as the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1923, State Shops and Establishments Acts, which protect the employees from wrongful termination.
Industrial Disputes Act, 1947: Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, states that if an employee has been employed for more than a year, then the employer can terminate him only after permission is granted to him by a suitable government office. Also, he must provide a valid reason for terminating the employee and pay severance amount (equal to 15 day's salary) to the employee for the number of years he has worked under him.
Make a formal complaint: The employee has been wrongfully terminated by the employer; then, the employee must first make a formal complaint to the Human Resource (HR) Department. Many times if the employee has been wrongfully terminated then the HR Department will resolve the issue and restore the job of the employee, however, if the HR Department does not take any action then the employee must send a legal notice to the employer to seek the damages, such as-:
- Back Pay
- Lost Benefits
- Out-of-pocket losses
- Injunctive Relief
- Punitive Damages
- Severance Package
- Retrenchment Compensation
- Health Insurance
- Provident Fund
In case a contractual provision is violated, then the employee can file a civil suit in the Labour Court. For initiating charges of Criminal Intimidation, the employee can file suits in criminal as well as civil courts.
In India, the employment laws are complicated. The employers who wrongfully terminates his employees do know the laws and methods through which the employees can claim remedy, thus the employers also know ways to get out of the loopholes and avoid the liability. However, the employees must know their rights and more so as to what factors or grounds constitute wrongful termination and thus must file a suit against the employer for wrongful termination.
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