Can you be a victim of pretext?

For months, the economic outlook with regard to jobs has been positive, and January’s jobs report did not disappoint. According to several media reports, there were 227,000 new jobs added to the nation’s economy. This number greatly surpassed analysts’ expectations of 180,000 new jobs. However, wages only increased 2.5 percent, which was below analysts’ expectations.

While adding jobs is certainly positive news, there are still many employees who are discriminated against in their employment. Indeed, workers are fired all the time due to performance related reasons, (i.e. chronic absenteeism, poor work performance) but there are many instances where the stated reason for a worker being fired (or not promoted) is not the actual reason. Instead, it is simply pretext to mask the employer’s true intention.

This post will briefly define pretext and explain how it may work in your case. 

Essentially, pretext is the “offered” reason for taking a particular course of action, when it is not the reason (or actual) reason for taking such an action. No employer is actually going to admit that they discriminated against an employee, so they are going to put forth non-discriminatory reasons for their actions, to conceal their true intentions.

Indeed, employers to terminate employees for any reason (even reasons that may not make good business sense); but they may not fire employees for illegal reasons (i.e. based on race, sex age or other protected statuses). The law gives employees a way to protect themselves by providing remedies through wrongful termination actions.

If you have questions about pretext, an experienced employment law attorney can help.


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