Abramson Labor Group – Wrongful Termination
The emotional toll that follows losing a job is just one part of it. There’s the financial toll as you struggle to pay the bills. Suddenly, decisions must be made. Do you pay the mortgage or rent or get the medication you need? That emotional toll and anxiety can impact your physical health. It’s so much worse if you were fired or laid off unjustly. There are policies and civil rights laws that protect workers from wrongful termination.
Understanding At-Will Employment Contracts
In the U.S., most employment is considered to be at-will. This means that a company can terminate employment for any reason. It also means that you can quit or leave that position at any time. This is called “at-will” employment. It’s blanket protection to protect your employer and you from cutting ties when the fit doesn’t seem ideal.
Despite having an at-will agreement in a contract, there are situations where a company cannot terminate a worker’s employment. If the employee is let go for a reason that goes against state or federal laws or violates other areas of the employment contract, the employee has a case for wrongful dismissal.
What Qualifies as Wrongful Termination?
Wrongful termination is a condition where an employer ends a worker’s employment for a reason that goes against employment and discrimination laws. If your job is terminated due to discrimination, you’ve been wrongfully terminated.
Discrimination laws protect you from being fired or laid off due to your age, gender, race, religious beliefs, nationality, or disability. Civil rights laws protect you in all of those situations. Job-related decisions like terminations require employers to avoid any form of discrimination. This includes the following federal statutes:
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act
- Americans With Disabilities Act
- Equal Pay Act of 1963
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
Those are some of the federal laws that protect you from wrongful termination. Here are some examples of situations that qualify as wrongful termination.
For example, an employer couldn’t let you go because they felt you were too old to fit in. That violates age discrimination laws. They also couldn’t terminate your employment if you become disabled but could still handle your daily job duties.
Imagine your working for a company while pregnant. You’re a couple of months from your maternity leave. Your boss calls you into his office and says he is letting you go because you’re taking too many bathroom breaks. That’s discrimination and one example of wrongful termination.
Your dad had a stroke and is in the hospital. You have let your human resources person know that you’ll be taking a leave of absence provided to you in the Family and Medical Leave Act. After missing two weeks of work, your boss informs you that you’re being let go for missing too much work. That’s another example of wrongful termination.
Another example would involve your refusal to break a law. Your boss has been taking cash from the cash drawer and asking you to pretend you never saw it. You refuse, so he fires you. That’s also an example of wrongful termination.
If you’re terminated after making a complaint pertaining to harassment, a perceived illegal activity, or discrimination, that also counts as wrongful termination. A company or staff member cannot retaliate against an employee who has made a complaint.
Many of the reasons for wrongful termination are covered by other laws and may be best pursued under those laws. For example, if you were dismissed due to pregnancy, pregnancy discrimination would apply. A lawyer who specializes in wrongful termination can help you decide the best way to proceed with your specific situation.
Employment Contract Terms May Offer Protection
You may find your employment contract protects you against wrongful termination, too. If you signed a contract that states you will work for the company for a full year, the company couldn’t let you go six months into the contract. It would have to be a mutual agreement, or you could have a case for wrongful termination.
What if promises were made that were verbal? Verbal agreements are legally binding, but it is harder to prove they exist. It’s still important to talk to an attorney and get advice.
Talk to an Employment Law Attorney
If you’ve been terminated and think it may have gone against policies and laws, you have rights. You should speak with an employment law attorney to get advice. Attorneys at Abramson Law Group are experienced in wrongful termination lawsuits. They can help you file a complaint and get the justice you deserve. Arrange a consultation to discuss your case.