Getting fired from your job can be a terrible experience, especially if you were terminated without a valid reason. But what if you suspect that your employer violated the law by firing you? Can you sue for wrongful termination?
What the Law Says
In the United States, most employment is "at-will," which means that employers can fire employees for any reason or no reason at all, as long as it's not illegal. This can perhaps make it difficult to prove wrongful termination, as employers are not required to provide a reason for firing an employee. However, there are some exceptions to the at-will rule.
One such exception is when an employee is fired for a discriminatory reason. Under federal law, it's illegal to terminate an employee based on their race, sex, national origin, religion, age, or disability. Additionally, some states have additional protected categories, such as sexual orientation or gender identity. If an employee can prove that they were fired because of one of these protected characteristics, they may have a strong case for wrongful termination.
Exercise of Rights
Another exception to the at-will rule is when an employee is fired just because they exercised a legal right. For example, if an employee is fired for filing a workers' comp, they may be able to sue for wrongful termination. Similarly, an employee cannot be fired for reporting illegal activity, such as fraud or harassment, within the company.
Getting a Lawyer's Assistance
If you believe you were wrongfully terminated, the first step is to talk to a lawyer. If you do decide to sue, you will need to show that you were fired for an illegal reason. This may require evidence, such as witness statements, emails, or other documents, to support your claim.
Paying Attention to Time
It's also important to note that there may be strict time limits for filing this type of lawsuit, and in most cases, you must approach the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC. If the agency does not resolve the matter, you may then file a lawsuit within a certain timeframe, depending on the nature of the claim.
What to Do Now
Wrongful termination can be a tough legal issue, but employees who believe they were fired for an unlawful reason do have legal options. If you suspect you were wrongfully terminated, it's important to talk to a wrongful termination lawyer as soon as possible to evaluate your case. With the right evidence and legal representation, you may be able to recover lost wages, damages, and other remedies through a successful wrongful termination lawsuit.