Legal Topics


Wrongful Termination

Employers are usually free to terminate an employee's contract for many reasons--and sometimes for no reason at all. However, under the law, those reasons do need to be justified or else the employer could be subject to a charge of wrongful termination.

An employee can be considered to have been wrongfully terminated or dismissed for the following reasons:

Discrimination: An employee cannot be fired on the basis of race, religion, sex, age, or sexual orientation.

Retaliation: An employee cannot be fired in retaliation for an act such as filing a claim of discrimination or participating in an investigation against the employer.

Obeying the law: An employer cannot fire an employee because they did not commit an illegal act when ordered to do so.

Leave of absence: Employers cannot fire an employee for taking a leave of absence for family care or medical purposes.

Lack of proper procedure: Regardless of the reason, if the employer fails to follow all the procedures for termination outlined by the company's own policy, an employee can bring a suit against them for wrongful termination.

If you feel that you have been unfairly terminated from your job, you are allowed to file a wrongful termination suit against your employer.

The first step is to compile as much evidence as you can get to support your claim against your employer. This can involve collecting pay stubs and hiring records, testimony from the person or people responsible for your termination, testimony from coworkers and others who witnessed your termination, and your own written account of the events. If you believe that your employer was responsible for others being wrongfully terminated for the same reason as you were (e.g., for discrimination), then you should collect evidence from the workplace to support that claim.

To file your suit, you would have to go to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This federal agency is responsible for substantiating your claim and will conduct its own investigation of the matter. Once the investigation is concluded, the EEOC will rule either in your favor or in support of your employer.

You can also file a civil lawsuit against your employer, although it is recommended that you go through the EEOC before attempting a civil case. If the EEOC does not rule in your favor and you still demand satisfaction, then you may present a civil suit. For more help on preparing a civil suit, you can turn to online resources such as FindLaw.

Image by Tax Credits on Flickr

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