Wrongful termination from a job can be an upsetting experience, especially if you feel you have done everything possible to be a productive employee. The challenge is knowing whether your termination was legal or illegal.
There is an old saying that will always hold true when it comes to legal matters. “If you do not know your rights, you do not have any.”
Most employment offers are “at will,” which means that a person can be terminated at any time so long as the reason is not illegal. However, there are a number of exceptions to the at-will-rule that may help you keep your job, or even sue a former employer if you were terminated illegally.
Promises That Are Written
If your employer gave you a written statement, contract or otherwise that promised you job security, you might have a strong case against your former employer. An example is job termination and having a written letter or document in your possession that promises continued employment–or termination for good cause.
Promises That Are Implied
An implied promise of job security may be more difficult to prove than a written promise. Implied promises are agreements based on what the employer might have done or said. An example would be that you were promised employment for a specific period of time by your employer having set forth performance reviews and relevant, progressive disciplines or rewards in an employee manual.
Violations of Public Policy
Many states have made efforts to create specific laws that explain violations of public policy with respect to employer-related actions against an employee. Examples of employers violating public policy would be firing employees who took time off for jury duty, to vote, or to serve in the military or National Guard.
If you have good reason to believe you were terminated because of national origin, race, religion, age, color, genetic information or disability, you should consult with a lawyer immediately. Firms like Kitchen Simeson Belliveau Llp can give you the professional support you need to fight a firing in violation of federal protections.
If you are engaged in a legally protected activity, such as whistle-blowing or filing a charge of sexual harassment, the employer is forbidden from retaliating against you.
Wrongful Termination Remedies
The first remedy in addressing a wrongful termination is to know your rights and what recourse may be available. Your former employer’s Human Resources department may be able to provide helpful information about the termination process. An additional remedy can be to hire an attorney who practices employment law.