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Fighting "Cause" in a Termination Washington

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  • Fighting "Cause" in a Termination Washington

    I'm based in TX, my company is based in WA. Does WA labor law prevail, and/or does it really make a difference? Here's the "short" background and story... any input/advice would be greatly appreciated.

    I had been with this company for 5 years in outside sales, and was #7 in tenure of about 100 employees. There is no other individual who has brought in more top-line revenue in this company's 6-year history.

    I was notified by my supervisor of termination on Monday and there was "hint" of termination for Cause. But 48 hours later I have still not heard anything "official" from the Company or my supervisor. This has limited my ability to act immediately on Unemployment and Job-loss mortgage insurance. In my opinion, there is NO Cause.

    There is a (rumored) pending sale to a large / publicly traded company. I have 20,000 fully vested options, which would "go away" if terminated for Cause. There's also a large pending sales contract (that I've been the lead on for 4+ years) where the decision is to be announced in roughly 30 days... this would have been $100k in commission to me. I believe I should challenge the Cause. If in fact an acquisition IS pending, that having (or having the threat of) a Legal action against the Company would make this all go away.

    All I'm looking for is to have the Cause eliminated, so I can collect insurance, and keep my options. Again, I feel strongly that there is NO legitimate Cause. Thank you for taking the time to review and/or comment.

  • #2
    Both Washington and Texas are employment at will states; cause is not needed to terminate.

    However, what is it you have done, or that they think you have done, that there is even a question of termination for cause?
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    • #3
      I flew to Tulsa to "camp out" at a prospective client site where they were supposed to have gotten budget approval for a pending purchase, but where the prospect had "gone gray"... meaning they were not responding to calls / emails. I needed to know where this deal was, and this is NOT an unknown tactic. In fact, it's been suggested by management in the past.

      The suggestion was that I must have gone to Tulsa for some frivolous purpose. (Seriously. Tulsa?) I was just married in December, and would not take on extra travel where didn't feel it necessary to get a deal done. I was NOT able to actually meet face to face while there for an afternoon and the following morning, but my presence promoted him taking my call when I was at the airport waiting on the return flight. HR called the prospect who said he did NOT actually meet with me. My contention is that the trip promoted the conversation with the client, so either way it was successful in it's purpose, in my opinion.

      I'm okay with leaving (I'm more than ready to go NOW). But I don't see why they may press for Cause (as meager as that "cause" may be) unless there's ulterior motives (e.g. to get my options off the table with the pending sale and/or eliminate the potential $110k commission). I know it's "at will"... just confused why they would suggest this to someone who's scrapped for 5 years and helped get this company off the ground. It has a huge personal impact as the Cause eliminates my ability to collect Unemployment and insurance. ??

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      • #4
        And.... in this current economy, I missed my last year sales goal pretty substantially. They could easily terminate me for that, which I would accept. But NO ONE has ever been let go from this company for missing their number AND had it be for Cause.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Fhole4 View Post
          I was notified by my supervisor of termination on Monday and there was "hint" of termination for Cause. But 48 hours later I have still not heard anything "official" from the Company or my supervisor. This has limited my ability to act immediately on Unemployment and Job-loss mortgage insurance. In my opinion, there is NO Cause.

          There is a (rumored) pending sale to a large / publicly traded company. I have 20,000 fully vested options, which would "go away" if terminated for Cause. There's also a large pending sales contract (that I've been the lead on for 4+ years) where the decision is to be announced in roughly 30 days... this would have been $100k in commission to me. I believe I should challenge the Cause. If in fact an acquisition IS pending, that having (or having the threat of) a Legal action against the Company would make this all go away.

          All I'm looking for is to have the Cause eliminated, so I can collect insurance, and keep my options. Again, I feel strongly that there is NO legitimate Cause. Thank you for taking the time to review and/or comment.
          You do not have to wait for an "official" reason for termination to file for unemployment or job-loss mortgage insurance. If they have terminated without giving a reason, you can simply state that. I would say "fired without being given a reason". Deal with the cause issue if and when the company raises the issue. Of course, you should deal with the "cause" that they actually claim which could be different from what you expect. If it does deal with a trip, you would get into issues of what authorization were you supposed to have to take the trip, has that been enforced on previous trips, did you have the authorization, etc.

          With 20,000 options of some value and a $100,000 commission involved, you should see an employment attorney. They certainly can terminate you, but if your agreements rise to the level of a contractual relationship and "cause" is justification for voiding the agreement, there is certainly enough money involved to pursue a civil action against them. Depending upon the wording in the agreements, I think it likely that the burden of proof would be upon them.
          Please post questions on the forum rather than sending me a private message or email. That way others who have similar issues have access to the discussion.

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