Getting fired for a reason you know to be legitimate is a pretty low feeling. But if you are fired without a legitimate reason when you seemed to be doing a great job, you may have a case to make for wrongful termination against your employer.
Work contracts in America are usually written with the intention to give employers ultimate authority who they allow to work for their company and who they are able to fire. Most employees will sign agreements before starting a position that indicates they are an “at-will” employee. This means, on its surface, that they can be let go at any time, without warning, for nearly any reason and have no recourse.
However, this language does not enable employers to simply get away with firing employees for illegitimate reasons. If you were fired from your position, and believe any of the following categories applies to your situation, you may have been the victim or a wrongful termination.You were the target of discrimination
Being fired on the basis for discrimination is as cut and dry as this subject can be. If an employer fires you solely on the grounds of your race, religion, age, gender or gender identity, ethnic background, sexual orientation or because you have a disability, then your employer has violated federal law and you are in prime position to file a lawsuit against that employer. You should talk to a lawyer right away, as statute of limitations for filing a claim against a discriminatory employer vary.You were fired as a direct retaliation
To prove this case in court, you must show that you were performing a legally-protected activity (such as standing as a witness in a discipline hearing) and that your activity directly prompted your employer to take retaliatory, negative action against you (such as a demotion or being fired). If you just so happened to have been fired after participating in an investigation that resulted in your employer being fined or made into a fool, you were most likely retaliated against, which is against the law.You were fired after engaging in a whistleblowing event
Blowing the whistle against an employer or company engaged in illicit activity is a federally-protected act. If it can be proven that your whistle blowing action resulted in your termination, you have a legitimate and strong case for wrongful dismissal.You were fired after being given written or implied promises
In some rare cases, employers may outline specific promises in a contract that indicate you are not an at-will employee, but are considered more of a permanent employee. If any contractual language indicates that you are to stay on for a certain number of years, and then you are fired for seemingly no reason, you may have a legitimate case for wrongful termination.
Implied promises are harder to prove, but can be substantiated in court by showing evidence of the duration of your employment, earning any promotions during your employment, having positive performance reviews, any written or spoken assurances that you will continue to be employed or if your employer violated an employment practice – such as offering a warning – before you were fired.You were fired for reasons that violate public policy
An employer may not fire an employee for taking time off work to serve on jury duty, taking time off work to vote, serving in the military or National Guard or engaging in other practices that are protected through law (such as the aforementioned whistleblowing or filing a safety complaint against your employer with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration).Wrongfully fired? Consider us hired.
If you or anybody you love has been fired because of any of these reasons, or another reason that you believe to be unjust, you may have a legitimate case to file a claim against that employer. Being wrongfully terminated can have seriously negative affects not just on your financial situation, but also emotionally and moving forward in your career.
At Altman & Altman LLP, we have over 40 years of experience fighting on behalf of workers who face inexcusable acts of injustice at their place of employment. We can review the specific details of your case and move forward in the way that is geared towards success.
Call us for a free consultation today at 617.492.3000 or toll-free at 800.481.6199. We are available 24/7.