When an employee is terminated for an illegal reason, he or she is the victim of a wrongful termination. Illegal reasons to fire an employee include any violation of the employee’s rights, such as his or her right to protest against unfair or unethical treatment by the company, his or her status as a member of a protected class, or his or her exercising rights like the right to serve on a jury or the right to take time off from work under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA).
Employees who are wrongfully terminated have the right to work with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to seek compensation for their damages through wrongful termination claims. A wrongful termination can have a devastating impact on an individual’s career. If you are a wrongful termination victim, do not simply accept it and move on.
It can be difficult to determine if a termination was wrongful or not, especially if you have signed an at-will employment agreement. At-will employment means that the employer can terminate an employee at any time without notice and without justification for doing so – within limits. An employer cannot terminate an employee for any illegal reason, even if the employee has signed an at-will employment agreement.
Examples of wrongful termination include:
Look for evidence to support your claim of wrongful termination. For example, take note of any discussions about “making room for younger workers” or active efforts to discourage unionization among employees. Remember, you have the following rights:
If you have been terminated for exercising one or more of your rights or because of a discriminatory reason, you have the right to file a wrongful termination claim and seek compensation for the damages associated with the termination. Speak with an employment lawyer about this right and how to pursue this type of claim.
You will need to provide the EEOC with evidence that your termination was due to an illegal reason, rather than due to your job performance. Often, employers disguise illegal reasons for terminating employees as legal reasons, such as giving an employee poor performance reviews despite good performance prior to firing him or her. Your attorney can analyze the situation to determine the best legal strategy for you.
If you are a victim of wrongful termination, consider working with an experienced employment lawyer to pursue compensation for the damages you suffered as a result of the termination through a wrongful termination claim with the EEOC. Contact The Law Offices of Mitchell A. Kline today to schedule your free legal consultation with us.