Wrongful Termination at Work: How it Occurs and What to Do About It
If you were recently fired from your job, you may be wondering whether or not you can file a wrongful termination or wrongful discharge lawsuit. The short answer is, unfortunately, no. If you were fired, you generally cannot file a claim for wrongful termination. One of the most prevalent misconceptions surrounding wrongful termination is that when an employee quits, that they cannot later bring a claim against their former employer. But in some cases, the working environment develops to such an extreme point that it becomes intolerable for an employee to work there, and thus, they have no other choice but to quit. However, it must be kept in mind that even if the situation develops to the point that an employee must be terminated, it is still within the rights of an employee to file a claim for wrongful termination.
Another common myth
surrounding wrongful termination claims are that they only apply if you were illegally fired due to age discrimination. In many cases, age discrimination does not even apply to many cases where an employee has been unfairly dismissed. Legal age discrimination typically only applies in situations where an employer has crossed the line in some way, such as requiring black or Hispanic employees to work over whites or requiring women employees to work behind men. In these cases, the employer has acted in bad faith, so if you are being fired for reasons that do not even apply to your specific situation, it is still possible to bring a case.
One misconception that many people
have is that they must prove actual damages to secure a lawsuit. The truth is, that it is almost impossible to prove actual damages in a case of wrongful termination. Most employees are not directly exposed to daily abuse, and few employees will have enough experience to incur the kind of monetary losses that are often seen in personal injury lawsuits. Simply put, to succeed with a lawsuit over wrongful termination, you must show that your treatment in the workplace was unfair and was made worse because of your gender, race, age, sexual orientation, or some other category.
Another common myth
surrounding at-will employment is that it protects you from being involuntarily discharged from your job for any reason at all. The truth is, employers are prohibited by federal and state law from firing an employee for filing a complaint of discrimination. While some states allow at-will employment to exist, most states severely limit its definition, which means that an employer can legally fire someone for any reason at all, even if they believe that the act was unlawful. This can be a very confusing area of employment law for employers, so you should consult with an experienced attorney who works on at-will employment issues whenever possible.
Perhaps the biggest mistake
that employees make when they get fired is thinking that the problem will simply go away if they simply try to keep their job. The fact is, many times employers will not attempt to simply get rid of people once they have been accused of discrimination. After all, keeping a job is a form of investment for most employers, so if you are terminated, they will certainly not want to lose you; and so they will do everything they can within reason to keep you! As a result, many people find themselves having to file lawsuits to get back the money that they have lost during wrongful termination.
While it is true that the majority of cases
filed on these types of grounds don’t get resolved in court, it’s not rare for a case to make it to trial. If you feel that you have been wrongfully terminated from your job, it’s strongly recommended that you hire a qualified employment attorney as soon as possible. An attorney who specializes in this type of case has studied every angle of the lawsuit process and knows exactly what needs to be done to win the case in your favor. By doing so, you may be able to get the monetary compensation that you deserve.