Wrongful Termination

Everything You Need to Know about Wrongful Termination

The last thing that anyone wants is to be laid off, especially when you believe that you didn’t deserve to be fired. One common question people have for employment lawyers is whether they were wrongfully terminated and have a legitimate case against their employers. Employment laws vary from state to state; however, a number of states, including Louisiana and Texas, follow an at-will employment policy. In general, this means that an employer can let certain employees go for a lawful reason at any time without notice. It also means an employee can quit his or her job at any time. It is important to note, though, that there are a number of exceptions and limitations to these laws. If an employer does not respect these limitations when letting an employee go, it could constitute wrongful termination.

What Counts as Wrongful Termination?

Despite at-will employment laws, an employer is not allowed to terminate an employee based on discriminatory or retaliatory reasons. For instance, an employee cannot be fired for acting as a whistleblower. These actions can count as wrongful termination.

If an employee has been wrongfully terminated, he or she may be able to seek justice by taking legal action and filing a wrongful termination suit against his or her employer. Wrongful termination cases have significantly increased in frequency over the last two decades. In fact, statistics report that wrongful termination lawsuits have risen 260% in the last 20 years.

What are the Different Forms of Wrongful Termination?

Wrongful termination can cover a number of actions. It is a common misconception that wrongful termination can only occur if the victim’s employer fired him or her. However, wrongful termination can also include cases where the employer simply bullies or forces an employee to quit by making his or her work environment intolerable. Two common ways an employer can commit wrongful termination are:

Constructive Discharge – An employer doesn’t necessarily fire an employee outright to commit wrongful termination. If an employer creates a dangerous, harmful, or intolerant work environment that forces an employee to quit due to discrimination or sexual harassment, the employee could hold the employer responsible for wrongful termination. However, constructive discharge does not cover every situation and cannot be used simply because there are things at the office that bother an individual.

Retaliatory Termination – It is illegal for an employer to terminate an employee because the employee filed a claim against the employer claiming he or she was the victims of discrimination or harassment in the workplace. Also known as being a “whistleblower,” you cannot be fired for reporting an illegal act or for being unwilling to commit an illegal act. If you choose to pursue a wrongful termination suit for retaliatory termination, you must establish that the filing of your complaint was directly linked to your firing.

What is Illegal Discrimination?

As an employee, it is important to know that you cannot lose your job due to certain traits that are protected under federal law. Any employer who hires or fires an employee based on origin, age, race, gender, religion, disability, or pregnancy is violating the law. If you believe you have lost your job for any of these reasons, you may be able to take action against your employer through a wrongful termination case with the help of employment attorneys. An attorney will be able to help you through your case, making sure that you don’t get taken advantage of by your employer.

An employee who has been wrongfully terminated based on discriminatory reasons has the legal right to sue his or her employer for loss of wages, “fringe” benefits, and in some cases, even punitive damages.

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