Although our readers have likely read about wrongful termination lawsuits and understand the general idea behind such a claim, many individuals may feel like filing a wrongful termination claim is a futile effort. There is a lot of talk about how difficult this is to prove, especially in a workplace that has "at-will" employment. For those that are not familiar with this term, it basically means that an employee or employer may choose to end their relationship with or without reason at any time. Our state is generally considered an at-will state.
When people who are fired hear this, they may think there is no chance for them to file a wrongful termination claim. Yes, it is true that in many situations where someone gets fired no laws were broken. But that is not always the case. Furthermore, a wrongful termination can happen for many different reasons that some of our readers may not be aware of.
One of the primary examples that our readers likely are familiar with is termination that is related to discrimination. Federal law prohibits employers from firing someone based on their national origin, sex, religion, age, pregnancy, color or race. State laws may take this even further to include other protected groups.
When it comes to some of these situations, there are specific steps that employees need to take before they can file a lawsuit against their employer. For example, they may have to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission first. An employment law attorney can help you understand these steps.
Discrimination is just one of the reasons why a termination may be unlawful. In our next post we will continue this topic and discuss other possible scenarios that may be unlawful.