People are fired from their jobs every day. However, some people believe that they did not do anything that constituted a firing. More people still believe that they were fired for extremely unfair reasons, which is known as wrongful termination. Employment is known as “at-will,” which means that an employee can be fired anytime; however, some reasons deem it illegal, because of this they should contact a workers compensation attorney.
Can you Sue for Being Fired? Important Exceptions to “At-Will”
- Written Promises: There may be a written promise that says that you have specific job security and cannot be fired. Let’s say that you and your best friend get into a business together and he decides to write in the contract that you cannot be fired under any circumstances because you must do it together. If this is the case, then it would be illegal for him to fire you. Sometimes, people make agreements that state that you can only be fired with good cause. You may be able to enforce a promise in court in front of the judge.
- Implied Promises: Did your employer make an implied promise to you, such as telling you face-to-face that they will agree to not fire you? Many employers will not make an agreement like this but in some cases, an employer will promise “permanent employment” and you can use this in court. The courts will look at various factors, however, such as the duration of your employment, regularity of job promotions, history of positive performance reviews, and whether or not your employer violated a usual employment practice in firing you.
- Breaches of Good Faith: Maybe your employer acted unfairly when they fired you. Did they fire you before you were able to collect sales commissions, mislead you about your chances for promotions, fabricated reasons for firing you, or repeatedly transferred you to a dangerous place or position so that you would be frightened into quitting?
- Violations of Public Policy: An employer is not allowed to violate public policy when they are firing a worker. This means any reason that society recognizes as illegitimate grounds for termination. Some of these reasons include disclosing a company practice of refusing to pay employees, taking time off work to serve jury duty, taking time off work to vote, and serving in the military or National Guard (basically anything that is your right).
- Discrimination: If you believe that you were fired because of your race, color, national origin, gender, religion, or more, you should speak to an attorney because this is also illegal. However, you have time limits on making a discrimination claim so keep this in mind.
- Retaliation: Employers are not permitted to retaliate against employees. This means that, if you were engaged in a legally protected activity, that activity prompted your employer to act, and your employer gave you consequences, you can file against them for this.
- Whistle-Blowing Violations: Whistle-blowing laws protect employees. If an employee decides to report activities that are unlawful or harm the public interest, this is not illegal and not means for firing.
When Can You Sue for Wrongful Termination?
There are some steps you can take if you are hoping to prove a wrongful termination case. For example, you may choose to ask your employer to explain your discharge reasons, ask to see your personnel file, create a journal of events, determine if your employer terminated you on illegal grounds, review expectations in the job, or begin searching for another job altogether. Let’s say that you need legal help with your case – call a Wrongful Termination Attorney you can trust.