When you’re let go from your job, the embarrassment linked with being dismissed might prevent you from looking at the underlying reason for your termination in the first place. There are a variety of unlawful kinds of discrimination that can motivate an employer’s conduct, including sexual harassment and racial prejudice. These include various types of workplace misconduct that may result in wrongful termination.
So, what is wrongful termination and how can you know if you’ve been let go under these circumstances? And lastly, how can a wrongful termination lawyer help you?
What is Wrongful Termination?
While many people who are fired from their employment believe their termination was “unjust” regardless of the reason, the legal definition of wrongful termination is quite narrow. To be fired for an illegal cause, such as a violation of federal anti-discrimination laws or a contractual breach, is to be wrongfully terminated.
Simply put, wrongful termination is defined as the wrongful discharge of an employee in violation of their rights. Employees in the United States are protected from wrongful discharge under both federal and state law.
The majority of employees in the US are considered “at-will” employees, which means that they can be terminated at any time for any reason (or no reason at all). However, there are a few notable exceptions to this rule.
Employees who have an employment contract with their employer cannot be fired without just cause. This applies to employees who have an express contract, as well as those who have an implied contract, such as employees who have been employed for a long period of time or employees who have been given a raise or promotion.
Employees who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement cannot be fired without just cause unless the employer follows the procedures outlined in the collective bargaining agreement.
Employees can also not be terminated for discriminatory reasons, including discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, or disability. Finally, employees who are whistle-blowers may not be fired for reporting illegal activity or safety violations in their workplace.
But how do I know if my case is a wrongful termination or not?