Elements of Wrongful Termination Claims
Despite many provisions in place to protect both employers and employees from discrimination in the workplace, there are still plenty of situations in which someone files a wrong termination suit after being let go from their job. If you’re concerned about the potential for a wrongful termination suit in your workplace, or you feel that you might have been the victim of one, then this guide should help to outline the basic components of a wrongful termination claim. In addition, it’s worth mentioning that if you’re seriously concerned about a wrongful discharge, then the best thing you can do is contact a Charleston wrongful termination attorney who can then walk you through the specifics of your case and what you’ll be expected to provide.
It’s important to recognize that even though many places of employment have “at-will” provisions, it doesn’t mean an employer can fire someone at will without any consequences. There are a number of anti-discrimination laws in place at both the state and federal level which are designed to prevent employers from using “at-will” employment as an excuse to force their employees to do things that they would otherwise not be comfortable with. It can also not be used as an excuse to eliminate an employee simply because they don’t conform to the company’s status quo in regards to sexuality, gender, race, or religion.
In fact, while federal laws already have provisions regarding the specific discrimination of someone based on their race, color, national origin, sex, religion, disability, pregnancy, or age, it turns out that many states have even tougher regulations built into their laws. While this means that a wrongful discharge claim can vary from state to state, in general there are still a number of basic anti-discrimination measures that every state must follow.
In spite of the anti-discrimination measures built into federal and state laws, not all wrongful discharge claims have to necessarily do with anti-discrimination. For instance, one of the leading types of wrongful discharge claims has to do with employees signing a contract with their employer, only to be fired before the completion of the contract. Similarly, another leading cause of wrongful discharge claims is when an employer is perceived to have fired someone out of retaliation for their actions.
While some actions are justifiable for firing someone, this provision of wrongful discharge claims typically has to do with firing someone for an action that is legally protected by the government. In modern times, this has typically been the focus of whistleblowers, who have been removed from their position after trying to go public with negative information about the company they work for.
Along a similar vein to whistleblowers, employees are protected from any case in which an employer has fired them for refusing to commit an illegal act. Just as the government protects employees from being fired for doing something that is within their legal right, the government also protects employees from being forced to do things that go against their legal rights as well.
While it is not often as mentioned as other types of wrongful discharge claims, it is still possible to file a claim against an employer that has fired someone for taking legally protected time off. For instance, if someone chooses to go vote or needs to take time off as a result of military service, then an employer is not legally able to fire them. If this is discovered to be the reason for the wrongful discharge, then the government provides legal protections to the employee to ensure that they are not punished for exercising their rights.
Another type of wrongful discharge that isn’t often considered is when someone is wrongfully terminated despite provisions in the company’s own regulations protecting them. For instance, if someone is fired after only receiving one warning for an infraction, when the company’s policy is to provide employees with two warnings, then they might have the case for a wrongful discharge claim. As with most forms of claims, the best way to determine if you have a case, or whether you’re protected from a former employee’s, is to contact a legal expert and discuss the specifics of your case with them. A trust Charleston wrongful termination attorney can insulate you from damages associated with a wrongful discharge, or ensure that you get the money you’re owed from a former employer.
For employers, what a lot of this means is that you simply need to be aware of the various laws relating to employment in your state and at the federal level. Once you’ve figured out how anti-discrimination laws interact with your business, as well as other employment regulations, you’ll be able to ensure that your company performs everything as up to the standard established by the government. No one wants to deal with a poor employee, but there are steps to take in rectifying the situation instead of immediately letting someone go without the proper basis for firing.
Conversely, employees deserve to know the rights they have as workers. It’s unfair for someone to be pushed to their limits without realizing it’s illegal or something that goes directly against the laws established by the state or federal government. Of course, it can be difficult to keep track of the many different rules and regulations that occur at different levels of the government, especially when they’re written in a complex and difficult to follow language. Luckily, that’s why legal experts that specialize in wrongful discharge claims exist.
Perhaps most importantly, legal representatives that routinely deal with wrongful discharge claims are more than happy to field questions or concerns related to your specific case. By speaking with a legal expert on the nuances of your case, you can figure out if you’ve actually been the victim of any law violations and whether or not you can expect to be awarded damages. It is for this reason that contacting a legal representative comes so highly recommended, as they can take care of the difficult parts of your case so that you don’t have to.
To arrange a meeting to discuss your rights and options, contact our office online or call us at 800-766-9441.