Getting laid off is one of the most devastating things that can happen to a person, even when you know you messed up. This is especially true if you had landed your dream job and everything in life was starting to shape up just the way you planned it. But the feeling is worse if you feel you were terminated for the wrong reasons. You will surely have a hard time trying to move on without getting an explanation from your former employer. The truth is, even the best employees get terminated for wrong motives that the employer would want to keep secret. So, have you been wrongfully terminated?
Most employees working in the private sector in the U.S. are hired on “at-will” basis. “At-Will” refers to employment terms whereby the employer can fire the employee without giving them prior notice, and for a specific reason or no reason whatsoever. Conversely, the employee also has the freedom to quit their job whenever they want, for a reason or without giving any legitimate purpose. However, there are several instances where discontinuation of at-will employment may be considered wrongful termination. This will provide you with grounds to pursue a wrongful discharge claim.
What can be considered wrongful discharge?
At-will employment is subject to state, federal, and local laws that prohibit an employer from discharging a worker under certain circumstances. The following are situations in which being fired by your employer will be in breach of the law and therefore, qualify as wrongful termination:
Discrimination by your employer
Anti-discrimination statutes prohibit an employer from subjecting their employees to mistreatment at work or firing them based on several designated categories. If you were recently terminated and you feel it was prompted by your race/color, gender, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, age, pregnancy, or genetic makeup, this may qualify as wrongful termination.
Employees are not allowed by the law to act in retaliation when an employee works in a way he’s legally entitled to but against the employer’s liking. This will include things like reporting possible misconduct or illegal activity in the company to the relevant authorities. Going on leave to serve your jury obligations or discussing with employees ways of improving your wages. These are examples of situations that can end up in a retaliatory discharge, which constitutes wrongful termination.