Were You Wrongfully Terminated? Know Your Rights

When an employer feels that one of their workers is no longer needed or has violated company policies, they have all the right to terminate that employee for just cause. Generally, most companies hire employees “at-will” which means they can be fired at any time for a valid reason. But just because employees have such status does not give employers the right to terminate them for any reason.

According to the website of the Leichter Law Firm, an employee who was wrongfully terminated by their employer has the right to sue their company and receive compensation in the process. But when is a termination considered wrongful? Here are some grounds that will justify the filing of a wrongful termination case:

Written Promises
If you signed a contract or other statement that ensures your job security, then you have a case against your employer that you are not an at-will employee. If it is stipulated in the contract that you can only be fired for a valid reason then you might be able to claim damages for being illegally terminated.

Implied Promises
Your contract might also have some other provisions that exempt you from the “employee at-will” provision. These promises are based on things that your employer might have said and did regarding your employment. In determining the existence of implied promises, the court will look at the following:

  • Duration of your employment
  • Regularity of promotions
  • History of positive performance reviews
  • Promise of continuous employment upon hiring
  • Employer’s violation of a usual employment practice in terminating you such as not giving a warning

If you were untreated unfairly by your employer, you may have grounds to make them liable for breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing. Examples of unfair treatment include:

  • Misleading employees about their chances for promotion and wage increase
  • Repeatedly transferring you to remote, dangerous, or undesirable assignments to force you to quit without being able to collect severance pay or other benefits
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Employment Law

The rights of the American worker and employee are nowadays taken for granted, but it took several decades of lobbying by those representing the labor pool to have a voice in the bureaucracy. It was only in 1913 that the Department of Labor was formed as signed into law by outgoing president Taft; prior to that labor issues were handled by the Bureau of Labor which was under the Department of Interior.

Today, employment law is a highly complex field of practice which is in general pro-labor. Among the more important, and indeed one of the first provisions in employment law is the minimum wage and overtime pay aspects. Originally, the regular work week was pegged at 44 hours, and was later reduced to 40 hours a week, but some employers still try to circumvent the law and neglect to pay the time-and-half required by law for work done in excess of 40 weeks. An article on the website of Wisconsin-based labor law firm Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. point out that employees are often not aware when they are owed overtime pay, and this may constitute a substantial amount if accumulated over time.

Another protection enforced by the Department of Labor is workplace discrimination. According to the website of Ross Law Group located in Houston, Texas, this is something that persists to this very day, and may be based on sex, age, race, ethnicity, disability, and so on. Under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), workplace discrimination carries significant sanctions for the employer and his or her agents.

When employment law is involved, the biggest mistake someone who seeks redress for some complaint is to try to do it on their own. The layman would not have the knowledge or experience to prepare and present a case to the EEOC properly, and may end up losing the case even if the claim is legitimate and with a sound basis in law. That would be a waste. Most labor lawyers work on a contingent fee basis, so it is in the firm’s interest to win all their cases and will invest heavily into that.

If you believe that your employer has treated you unfairly, contact an employment lawyer today to learn more about your options.

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