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Losing a job can be financially and emotionally challenging, but the pain worsens when you were wrongfully terminated. Employers who unlawfully fire an employee may be held liable in a wrongful termination case, even if they operate within an employment at-will state.
The employment at-will doctrine states an employee may be let go from a company for any reason, but there are a few exceptions. One of the exceptions is when a termination involves a violation of public policy established by the state. For example, let’s say an employer asks an employee to commit a crime on his behalf and the employee refuses. If the employer fires the employee as a result of refusing to do something illegal, this is a wrongful termination. Each state has its own list of public policies that may serve as exceptions to the employment at-will doctrine.
Wrongful termination can often occur when a breaches a contract made between the employee and employer. Most of the time, this refers to written contracts, however it can also apply to implied contracts.
A breach of a written contract occurs when the employer does not fulfill his end of the duties outlined in the contract. For example, an employer cannot fire you after three months if the contract states you were hired for a term of twelve months. If the employer does fire you, it may be a case of wrongful termination.
Proving a wrongful termination with an implied contract is more difficult, but not impossible. In this situation, the courts will analyze how the employment agreement was formed to determine if an implied contract actually existed and if so, whether or not a breach did occur.
Discriminating against someone because of his or her race, national origin, color, sex, age, religion or disability is illegal under both federal and state laws. Employers are prohibited from making any job-related decision, including terminations, based on one of these protected categories. These laws were put in place to ensure everyone would be treated equally and allowed to do their job without fear of being discriminated against because of the color of their skin, their values, beliefs, or appearance.
If you can prove the decision to fire you was based on one of these categories, you may be able to hold your employer liable for wrongful termination.
Examples of Wrongful Termination
Potential examples of wrongful termination include:
Victims of wrongful termination shouldn’t hesitate to speak with an employment law attorney to discuss their legal options. The attorneys at Shegerian Conniff have the experience and employment law knowledge to help you seek justice against your former employer. Contact us today to schedule a legal consultation.