Each day workers are discharged from their jobs without knowing their legal rights. If you were fired from your job, you may be entitled to a wrongful termination claim. If you require legal assistance, employment law professionals recommend Rubin Law Corporation – Wrongful Termination Law.
Wrongful termination laws protect workers from any firing done in violation of federal, state, or local laws. Wrongful termination can also happen due to a violation of the terms of an employment agreement.
Proving Employment Discrimination
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the laws they enforce protect employees from being fired or discriminated against due to their age, disability, gender, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, or sex. Many states prohibit employment discrimination based on gender identity or sexuality as well.
If any of the following happened to you, then you may have a valid claim for wrongful termination based on discrimination:
- Can you provide direct evidence that you were terminated because of discriminatory reasons
- Can you provide circumstantial evidence of discrimination
- Can you demonstrate how employees are treated differently based on age, gender, race, or other protected category
- Have your employer, supervisor, or superior mad comments or actions that show a bias against certain groups
- Has your employer or supervisor indicated in word or action that they prefer one group of employees over another, and is there someone willing to attest to that publicly
Employment law prohibits harassment based on protected categories. Consider filing a wrongful termination claim if your employer did the following:
- Makes offensive or insulting comments
- Makes offensive comments regularly
- Makes unwelcomed sexual advances or requests sexual favors
- The end of a romantic love interest between employer and employee-led to their termination
If one of the following situations happened to you, then you could have a valid claim for wrongful termination because of retaliation:
- Were you fired after reporting potential violations in the company to a supervisor, colleagues, your human resources department, or an enforcement agency?
- Did your employer or supervisors punish you for reporting illegal and unsafe workplace activities?
- Did you participate in an investigation of the company’s practices that led to your dismissal?
- Were you warned against participating in an investigation with threats of dismissal?
- Were you punished for exercising your legal rights, such as taking protected leave?
Employment Contract Breaches
If you were fired in violation of an employment agreement, you may have been wrongfully terminated. If you’re under a written contract or have been promised certain things, or your employer made statements about you being fired, your employment contract may have been breached.
Exceptions To At-Will Laws
An employment law attorney can discuss your circumstances with you and investigate what options are available. If you have a written contract or other statements that promise you job security, you have a strong argument that you are not an at-will employee.
If you have an implied employment contract, this can also be an exception to the at-will rule.
Courts consider the length of time at your employer, the regularity of job promotions, performance reviews, and more to determine the legitimacy of your claim.
Duty of Good Faith
Courts have found that employers breached the duty of good faith and fair dealing by:
- Firing or transferring employees to prevent them from collecting sales commissions
- Misleading employees about promotions and raise
- Fabricating excuses to fire an employee for a cheaper replacement
- Misleading employees about the unsafe duties of a job
- Transferring an employee to undesirable assignments so they’ll quit
Some states don’t recognize “good faith and fair dealing.” They require a valid employment contract before employees can sue for a breach.
Public Policy Violations
It is illegal to fire someone when that firing violates public policy. Many courts require that there be some specific law setting out the policy and have specified employment-related actions that violate public policy, such as terminating an employee for:
- Disclosing company practices
- Election service
- Refusing to pay employees the money they’re rightfully due
- Taking leave for jury duty
- Taking leave to vote
- Serving in the military or National Guard
- Volunteer firefighting
If you desire to prove that your job loss came about because of fraud, you must demonstrate that:
- Your employer made a fraudulent articulation
- A supervisor, manager, or boss in charge knew of the fraud
- Your employer attempted to deceive you
- You were deceived and harmed due to their fraud
It’s not easy to prove fraud. However, employment law specialists have had success recovering damages for those who have been wrongfully terminated for reporting or preventing fraud.
Defamation laws protect a person’s reputation in the community. If you can demonstrate that your employer or former employer made untrue malicious statements about you, these statements harm your chances of getting a new job.
When looking to start a defamation claim, you must prove that your former employer:
- Made false declarations about you
- Made statements in malice with no regard for the repercussions
- Spread that statement to at least one other person
- Their false statements caused you to lose your job or prevented you from securing more opportunities.
Whistle-blowing laws protect those who report unlawful activities that harm the public interest. Many states protect and even award whistle-blowers that provide information that can help others or save the government money. Some states only offer whistle-blower protection when their employer broke certain laws. These generally include environmental or labor laws.
File an Employment Discrimination Complaint
Contact an EEOC field office if you want to file a discrimination complaint. Most state governments have anti-discrimination laws, and they offer additional protection on top of the federal regulations.
Some state laws only apply to certain sized businesses. Other laws prohibit discrimination based on if you’re married or have children. Also, many dates have different statutes of limitation for filing a charge. Some instances of wrongful termination may be illegal in one state and legal in another.
If you’re unsure which laws protect you against wrongful termination, consider hiring an employment law attorney. They’re filled with the federal and state laws that pertain to your unlawful discharge and will help you recover damages for your losses.