Signs You Were Wrongfully Terminated
Approximately 150,000 people are wrongfully terminated each year across the U.S. Most jobs (unless you are part of a union) are classified as “at will”, meaning an employer may fire an employee at any time, for almost any reason. If you have been fired from your job, how do you know if you were wrongfully terminated? There are several common situations you should be aware of that point to signs you were wrongfully terminated.
Employer violated written or implied promises – If your contract states a specific duration for your employment and you have been let go before the end of that period, you may have a solid wrongful termination case against an employer – as long as there was not a legitimate reason for your firing. Employers create the company policy, but they can also get in trouble when they don’t follow their own rules. Read your employee handbook thoroughly to find out how your company handles terminations. Then, compare the policy to the process of your own firing to note inconsistencies.
Discrimination – Companies cannot fire employees due to race, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, national origin, and in most states – due to marital status, pregnancy, or military affiliation. If you believe you were terminated for any of these reasons, your employer must prove the firing was work-related. Typically, these cases are difficult to prove which is why it is important that you keep any records and documentation that indicate discrimination. There is a strict timeframe within which you can file a discrimination case, so act quickly.
Violation of public policy – You have the right to take time off for jury duty, to vote, and to serve in the military or National Guard. You are also permitted to take family or medical leave for any reason outlined in the Family and Medical Leave Act. You cannot be terminated for any of these things, in addition to refusing to commit an illegal act as requested by your employer. Whistle blowing is also protected under the law.
Retaliation – Employers cannot let you go if you did something that is legally protected, like filing a work-related safety or health complaint. Likewise, you have the right to file a harassment complaint without fear of losing your job or retaliation.
You were the victim of fraud – If an employer tricks you into using bad information that does not work out well for the company, and fires you because of it, you may have grounds for a wrongful termination suit. You must be able to show the employer acted in a deliberate manner to trick you.
Defamation – If your employer intentionally spreads false rumors about you, and jeopardizes your reputation in the company or in the community, you can claim wrongful termination if it was also done during the firing process. These false claims are damaging because they may prove to be a challenge when you try to find another job.
Breach of good faith and fair dealing – In most states, you cannot be fired for certain unfair employment practices. Examples include if you were fired so your employer would not have to pay your sales commission or if they made up a reason to fire you in order to hire someone for a lower salary.
If there are signs you were wrongfully terminated, contact an attorney from 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a free consultation and get the justice you deserve.