Ask the Counselors – Is it wrong to file a lawsuit against a former employer?

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Question from Kathy:

(Note: Kathy gave me permission to post her question and my answer using only her first name.)

Good Morning Donna!

So, here’s the story up to my firing… I was employed up until Tuesday of last week. I have been having a lot of trials and persecution from my manager throughout my time of employment with this company… She and her favored employee have been watching every move that I make to see if I would make a big enough mistake to be fired over. And although I had been doing my best to remain faultless and truly focus on how Jesus would act in demonstrating peace, love, joy and kindness while he was being persecuted… I would keep reminding myself that I’m not working for man… but rather for The Lord. So after I was sick a couple of times and out due to a work related back injury… she was able to fire me. Side note; my manager has been reported 2 other times for seeking women out and trying to get them fired.

During my time of employment, I met an attorney at work and through business small-talk I found out that he was actually a West Point Grad like my husband… he asked for me to give my husband his business card. Somehow the card ended up back in my purse. I saw it after I got fired and saw that he specializes in Wrongful Termination. Everyone who knows the history of how she was towards me while at work… believe it was wrongful termination.

My question is, should I follow through with bringing a lawsuit against her for such? My husband and I believe that she will not be stopped by just reporting her to employee relations… and well she is best friends with her manager. So we believe it must go above her direct and indirect superiors…

The real question is… is it Christian-like or is it wrong to bring this injustice to a lawyer to make things right… not for me necessarily… but for the future of other employees and for her sake as well? Or should I just let God handle the outcome of her fate… and not concern myself with the injustices that not only I received working under her…but other girls. The thing I don’t agree with though is that I would still have a job if it wasn’t for her seeking out to vengefully get rid of me.

But another part of me says well maybe it’s just another lesson I needed to learn… to persevere through to strengthen my character and hope in God. Which that it has… He truly comes through and provides. Since now my husband and I are unemployed, he has provided for us with the knowledge of most of our bills paid through my husband going back to school and being paid to do so through the military as a veteran!!!… and this happened around the time of tax season time with a refund… and the payout of my PTO and 401k… He’s assuring us that he will take care of us as he has proved to do so in the past many times!!! God is Good!!! 🙂 So blessed to be able to have a love and close relationship with him through Christ! Very blessed indeed.

Sorry this is so long… the old me wouldn’t have questioned whether it would be right in The Lord’s eyes… if I have been wronged it’s up to me to make it right… but not anymore… It’s up to us to allow God to make it right… but, is he pointing me in the direction for him to make it right with this lawyer who is a fellow believer in Christ? I’m so confused… Sorry this is so long of a question… haha Thank you for all of your help… and patience of reading through to the end. 🙂

Dear Kathy,

I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your job. But it’s wonderful that you want to do whatever is biblically right.

The answer depends on several things. First, whether or not your former boss is a believer or not. Believers are not to take other believers to court. We should appeal to them on the basis of God’s truth and sometimes ask other believers to come alongside and help us decide what’s right, but we shouldn’t turn to the world’s system for justice.

1 Cor. 6.1-7 says:

1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? 2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? 4 If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge? 5 I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren? 6 But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers!
7 Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated?

The second is you heart attitude. It sounds to me like your motivation is right, but you should pray and ask God to search your heart (Ps. 139.23-24). Our motive should never be revenge or a focus on “our rights.”

Romans 12.17-21 says:

17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

On the other side of the issue Romans 13.1-5 says:

1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. 5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.

So God has given the governing authorities as ministers of righteousness. And there are times when allowing the authorities to deal with the issue is appropriate and right.

Even then, we should forgive from the heart and pray for God’s will in the other person’s life.

I hope this helps.

Blessings,
Donna

5 thoughts on “Ask the Counselors – Is it wrong to file a lawsuit against a former employer?

  1. What a great response, Donna. We really need to examine our hearts before pursuing a lawsuit against a non-believer. Are my motives pure and honorable? Am I solely looking to uphold justice and protect my legal rights? Am I being completely honest? Am I making any deceptive claims or defenses?

    A very important question is….Will my course of action reflect negatively on the church, the body of believers, or in any way harm my testimony or the cause of Christ?

    • Rick,
      Thanks for your comments. I like your additional questions about whether or not our actions will harm our testimony or the cause of Christ. True discipleship costs … but it’s value is so much greater than silver or gold!
      Donna

    • Lyli,
      Thanks for the opportunity to link up on your “thought-provoking” site (& not just in name). Just a note, it’s probably me, but I haven’t been able to figure out how to grab your button and get it to work.
      Donna