Whether you have at-will employment status or employed under contract, it’s crucial to know under what conditions you could be legally terminated and what would be a “wrongful termination” in your case. Most people think that employers usually don’t make major mistakes when hiring and firing people. Quite the opposite is true. Employers do make mistakes all the time, especially in firing their employees. So a wrongful termination is quiet a widespread phenomenon on the job market.
If your termination was “wrongful,” you can file a lawsuit to reestablish your rights and compensate your damages. But how would you know that your termination actually was “wrongful.” First, it’s obviously so, if it was a result of any discrimination against you based on race, color, national origin, sex or sexual orientation, religious believe, pregnancy, age, or disability.
Another case of wrongful termination would be if you had an employment contract and were fired in violation of the terms and conditions of that contract. In this type of contractual relationships the terms and conditions of the written contract prevail, unless they do not comply with the requirements of law.
Your termination will also be considered “wrongful,” if your employer fired you in retaliation for your refusal to violate the law or for reporting about your employer’s illegal activities to federal or state agencies, i.e. for whistleblowing . For instance, your boss wanted you to do something in violation of safety requirements or any other legal regulations. You refused and got fired. In this case you could file a lawsuit. Another example would be when you reported to a federal or state body about workplace safety violations and your employer fired you because of that. In that case you also could bring an appropriate legal action to defend your rights.
If you think that you have been wrongfully terminated, don’t hesitate to contact your employment lawyer. You can be awarded wage and overtime back pay, reinstatement at your former position, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees.