Except for Montana, employment in the U.S. is “at-will.” Employers can fire an employee at any time. And an employee can leave at any time without legal consequences.
There are exceptions when it comes to employers firing employees. If an employer violates an exception, it’s wrongful termination.
Have you lost your job? Do you suspect wrongful termination?
Read on to learn four things you need to know about wrongful termination cases.
Federal and State Anti-Discrimination Laws
Discrimination is against the law.
What is discrimination? It’s when someone treats you in a prejudicial manner based on a category of type. Age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, and pregnancy are all categories of type.
Were you fired because you’re pregnant? Is there direct evidence that your supervisor fired you because of your age or race? If you’re fired for any of these reasons, it’s wrongful termination.
Discuss your termination with a lawyer. He or she will determine whether you have a case.
Sometimes getting fired is a form of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is often difficult to identify if it’s subtle. If the tone of your workplace is hostile due to sexual behavior, it may be sexual harassment.
If unwanted sexual advances or sexual conduct interfere with your job, it’s sexual harassment. Is your boss seeking a sexual relationship in return for a raise or promotion? That’s also sexual harassment.
Do your co-workers make inappropriate or lewd sexual jokes? Do they hang sexual photos or imagery in the workplace? Is there inappropriate sexual behavior at work?
These are characteristics of a hostile workplace.
If complaining about these things leads to job loss, that’s wrongful termination.
Violation of Employment Agreements
Do you have a written statement that implies long-term security? If so, you might not be an at-will employee. These types of contracts spell out specific reasons for job termination. If you’re fired for any other reason, you’d have a good case for wrongful termination.
Even implied promises are sometimes an exception to at-will employment. It’s harder to prove, though.
It’s against the law for an employer to fire you in retaliation, as long as what you’ve done is legal.
An employer can’t fire you for filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. They also can’t fire you for filing a complaint with the Human Resources Department.
Did you file a sexual harassment claim and soon after receive a poor evaluation? Did you have excellent evaluations before that?
Did this lead to job loss? Were you denied a promotion after filing a discrimination claim with Human Resources?
It’s illegal for an employer to retaliate when you’re exercising your rights.
Wrapping Up on Wrongful Termination Cases
Although most states are at-will when it comes to employment, employers need to abide by the law. If you suffer a wrongful termination, there’s something you can do.
If your employer broke the law, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. Consulting a lawyer is the first step to ensuring your rights aren’t violated. You may be entitled to monetary compensation or a job.
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Wrongfully Terminated? Get a Free Case Review
If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated, it’s important to consult with an attorney. The legal process can be very challenging and your attorney can provide you with expert advice. If you believe you were discriminated against based on a protected status, you’ll want to learn more with a free case review from an employment lawyer in your area today.