Were You Fired Fairly? Determining Wrongful Termination
If you were an employee whose termination of employment breached any term of an employment contract, any labor law, or any anti-discrimination law, then you were unjustly fired. In any event, employment law is a very specialized area, requiring the expertise of a skilled wrongful termination attorney. Every employment agreement is unique, and employment laws vary between jurisdictions and can be very complex, giving rise to the importance of hiring a highly competent legal team, such as the Liskey Law Firm. They will assess your former employment situation and determine whether you were wrongly terminated.
There are a number of circumstances in which an employer may commit wrongful termination. Some of the most common ways employers unfairly fire an employee are: breach of employment contract, discrimination, retaliation, employee’s refusal to commit crime, hostile work environment, and discontinued employment after serving in the military.
Breach of Employment Contract
Though California is an at-will state (meaning you can be fired without good cause), a written employment agreement will dictate the manner in which your employment can be terminated. If the employment contract promises job security, then you are likely not an at-will employee, and termination of employment must be for good cause. Even a verbal promise may create an exception to the “at-will” rule.
Implementing discriminatory practices in the workplace is the easiest way for an employer to be hauled into court. The law protects a person from being terminated on account of being a member of a “protected class” of people. You are part of a protected class if you were fired based on your: race, nationality, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, or disability.
If an employer discharges an employee because the employee exercised some right (i.e., filing of a discrimination claim, filing a worker’s compensation claim, filing a claim based on a wage dispute, cooperating with an investigation of the employer, applying for stress leave, etc.), then the employee has a claim for wrongful termination.
Employee’s Refusal to Commit a Crime
The law only protects employers and employees who operate within the guidelines of the law. No employer has the right to require an employee to engage in any unlawful conduct. Therefore, if an employee is fired because he/she refuses to participate in illegal activities at the command of the employer, then he/she has been wrongfully terminated and they have the right to sue.
Hostile Work Environment/Sexual Harassment
Any type of harassment in the workplace is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Harassment is unwelcome conduct that becomes unlawful when enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment or the conduct is severe enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating or abusive. Sexual harassment and bullying are common forms of harassment. According to the EEOC, a victim does not necessarily have to be the person who was harassed, but anyone effected by the offensive conduct.
Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA), anyone who leaves his/her job for military service is entitled to return to that civilian job. A member of the military who returns to work after serving in the military cannot be terminated without “just cause” for six months if they served at least 30 days, or for one year if they served for at least 180 days.
A wrongful discharge is a very serious matter, especially since it effects one’s livelihood. Being an adversary against an employer can be challenging and intimidating. The Liskey firm is equipped and readily available to advocate for your employment rights. Contact them immediately to pursue any recourse against an employer engaged in unlawful employment practices.