At times, the drama in Hollywood actually provides an example that the rest of the world can learn from. Charlie Sheen is providing one such example. Sheen, formerly famous for his time with CBS’s popular comedy Two and Half Men, perhaps as much for his exit from the show as his actual role, is lighting up the headlines again. This time the star is receiving negative publicity for reportedly firing a co-worker via text message.
The ability for employers to communicate with their employees through emails, social media sites and texts has come with many positive and negative consequences. In this case, Sheen is accused of inappropriately terminating a contract for a co-star on FX’s popular show “Anger Management” through a text message. The entire event may provide an example of how the ease of communication could have led to an impulsive firing.
The co-star in question, Selma Blair, still had a significant portion of her contract to complete when she was reportedly fired. As a result, it appears that Sheen may have violated basic contract law by firing Ms. Blair prematurely. If these reports are true, Sheen could be guilty of wrongful termination. Yet, it appears unlikely Sheen will be held accountable in court for the violation. Reports further state that Ms. Blair will continue to receive the expected payment for her role, even though she no longer has a job.
Unfortunately, most employees who find themselves in similar situations do not continue to receive payment. Instead, the contract is terminated and the employee is out of a paycheck. Both state and federal laws offer protections for those who find themselves wrongfully discharged from employment.
Michigan employment law protections
An article published by the Michigan Bar states that contract lawsuits outnumber tort lawsuits in most courts. Contract lawsuits can cover a variety of duties, including construction of property and completion of a job. If a contract for employment in Michigan includes a specific time period and an employer terminates the contract prior to this date, the employer may have violated the law.
It is important to note that many employment contracts in Michigan are at-will. This means either the employer or employee can terminate the contract at any time for any reason.
There are exceptions to this rule. If, for example, an employee’s contract is terminated in a discriminatory manner the employer is likely committing wrongful termination. This could include firing an employee based on his or her race, nationality or religious beliefs.
If an employer violates an employment contract, damages may be available to help the employee receive the compensation he or she was entitled to. Contact an experienced Michigan wrongful termination lawyer to discuss your situation and legal options.