Proving a wrongful termination case can be a challenge, because most states are “at will” employment states and the exact cause of a firing can be difficult to prove. However, there are a number of wrongful termination scenarios, and you may very well have a good case against a former employer. If you have experienced any of these five signs of wrongful termination, you should consult an attorney immediately.
You Missed Work for a Protected Reason
If you were fired after missing work for a protected reason, you might have been wrongfully terminated. There are laws that protect workers from being fired for missing work because of jury duty, voting or serving in the military. State laws vary and can have other specific protected reasons, so it’s very important to work with qualified wrongful termination lawyers in your state.
You Blew the Whistle on Your Employer
If you refused to do something illegal at the request of your employer, you may have a good wrongful termination case. Whistle blowing laws protect employees who are fired for reporting unlawful behavior. These laws do vary by state, and some states have broader protections than others.
There Was Defamation Occurring
Defamation means untrue facts were spread about you with malicious intent. You could possibly have a wrongful termination case because defamation can make it unfairly difficult to find another job. For defamation to have occurred, a third party had to have heard or seen the statement. The statement also must have been factually false to be considered defamation.
Discrimination Was Occurring
Being fired for a discriminatory reason is illegal and you could possibly win a wrongful termination case if it happened to you. For example, you cannot legally be fired because of your gender, race, pregnancy status, disability, religion, age and some other protected statuses. Remember that there are time limits that apply for discrimination cases, so you should not wait if you suspect you were fired for this reason.
The Firing Violated a Written Agreement with Your Employer
When you sign an employment contract with an employer, sometimes it is specified in writing how long you have been hired for. If an employer fired you before that time was up, you may have been wrongfully terminated, so long as it was not for “good cause.” This also applies to implied promises, although cases where there is an agreement in writing are often stronger.
As you can see, there are actually quite a few cases where wrongful termination might have occurred. It is important for all employees to understand what they can and cannot legally be fired for. If any of these signs surrounded your firing, consult a lawyer soon to determine if you have a case and whether to pursue it.
About the Author: Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her husky Snowball. You can find her on Twitter at @LizzieWeakley and on Facebook at facebook.com/lizzie.weakley.