An employer does not have an absolute right to terminate an employee. While they may have leeway when it comes to choosing who to hire, fire, or promote, there are instances in which workers are protected from retaliation. How do you know if you should sue for wrongful termination?
Are You a Protected Class?
A protected class is a person who is shielded from treatment that is based solely on his or her gender, religion, or physical condition. In other words, your boss can’t fire you simply because you are a Christian or because you are pregnant. Workers also generally cannot be fired or retaliated against for taking time off under the Family Medical Leave Act or for related reasons.
Have You Taken a Protected Action?
In addition to protections granted to classes of people, state and federal law may provide protection for those who take certain actions at work. For instance, you cannot be fired or retaliated against if you speak out against an illegal or unethical practice in the workplace. You also generally cannot be fired for refusing to take certain actions that conflict with your religion or that may be reasonably considered unsafe. Because the law can be complex in this area, if you believe you have been terminated for a protected action, contact a workers’ compensation lawyer and wrongful termination lawyer.
Can You Prove That You Were Fired for Either of Those Reasons?
It can be difficult to prove that you were fired because you are a women or because you spoke out against the head of the company. However, there are key pieces of evidence that if identified, may be able to help your case.
- If there were no prior complaints about your work prior to speaking up about questionable practices, it may be why you were unfairly terminated.
- Did anyone witness any behavior on the part of others that could be construed as unfair and the basis for illegally firing you?
- While rare, a manager or someone else in the company may admit that you were unlawfully terminated. If this should happen, document it immediately and provide this information to your attorney.
Pursuing Your Case Could Help Others
It is understandable that you don’t want to rock the boat or get the extra scrutiny that filing a wrongful termination case may cause. However, it may be in your best interest to pursue justice. This is because in addition to getting compensated for your lost wages and other damages, a favorable ruling in your case could help others. It might be used as precedent for future cases involving workers who have been treated unfairly by their employers. Seeking justice for yourself may also serve to provide a voice to others who have been too afraid to come forward with their own stories.
As a professional, you want to preserve your reputation and make sure that you remain someone who employers would want to hire. However, you may be able to do more for yourself and others by ultimately holding your employer accountable for their actions. By doing so, you may cause employers to think twice about mistreating employees in the future as it could result in a backlash that they would rather avoid. Contact a wrongful termination lawyer today to discuss your case.
Law Offices of Franks, Koenig & Neuwelt can help protect your rights and the financial resources you need to move forward in your life.