I was just terminated this week after being with the company for two years. I was never reprimanded for anything, I had a very good attendance record, I got along with all of my co-workers and had even been given a promotion with a raise last October from shipping and receiving to purchasing. A couple of months ago my supervisor started taking over some of my purchasing duties, and had me go back to doing some of my previous duties, with no cause on my part for the change. It was a matter of trying to cover certain areas with a limited work force. I had not been making mistakes in my new position, and had even built good relationships with our suppliers. My replacement is the pastor of the owner's mother. There has been talk of financial problems in his church so he needed a job.
Favoring one employee over another (or one prospective employee over an existing attorney) is not unlawful unless it violates a written employment agreement (such as a seniority list pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement) or employment discrimination (based on such factors as sex, pregnancy, age, disability, national origin, color, creed, race, or religion) or retaliation. In some states, written policies of the employer (such as those set forth in an employee handbook) will also have contractual effect.
Beyond that, there is simply nothing that can be done.
Good luck to you.
Michael S. Haber is a New York attorney. As such, his responses to posted inquiries, such as the one above, are limited to his understanding of law in the jurisdiction in which he practices and not to any other jurisdiction. In addition, no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to constitute legal advice, nor to constitute the existence of an attorney/client or other contractual or fiduciary relationship, inasmuch as rendering legal advice involves the ability of the attorney to ask appropriate questions of the person seeking such advice and to thus gather appropriate information. In addition, an attorney/client relationship is formed only by specific agreement. The purpose of this answer is to provide the questioner with general information, not to outline specific legal rights and remedies.
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As an at-will employment state the only illegal reasons for termination are those protected by statute (or case law). In your case, the employer favored someone else over you. If there were evidence that the favoritism was based on race, gender, or other protected classification you may have a claim. However, it is not illegal in Michigan for a employer to show favoritism to a friend or a family member.
Attorney's answer to this question is given for informational purposes only. Every factual situation is different and changes the application of the law to those facts. You should not rely on the answer as advice for your situation. By answering this question, no attorney-client relationship is intentional created, nor should one be implied. Before taking any actions, you should consult with an attorney to advice you on your specific situation.