After many, many applications you finally landed a job. You’ve been working hard, seemingly living the dream. Out of nowhere, you receive notice that you’re being fired. No matter what the circumstances of your termination, it was probably incredibly stressful to say the least. Sometimes, it can be helpful to read other examples of wrongful termination to see if your termination was actually illegal.
The thoughts and self doubt that ensue are often crippling. Was it something you said or did? Was your termination simply unfair, or was it illegal? To add insult to injury, sometimes people are put into this situation because their employer is illegally discriminating or retaliating against them. Can you sue your ex-boss? The Leichter Law Firm explains here.
Keep in mind, employment laws vary from state to state, so what may be wrongful termination in one state may be legal in another. Here are some examples of wrongful termination.
You were fired due to discrimination on the basis of race, sex, disability, pregnancy, or age
Employers may not discriminate in employment decisions against potential or current employees on the basis of sex, race, disability, pregnancy or age. Employment decisions can include:
- Job Placement
Some states protect LGBT employees as well. Employers may not use an employee’s genetic information when making employment decisions.
Here are two examples of this type of wrongful termination:
- At your last performance review, your boss tells you that you’ve been doing great work. He tells you that you are up for a promotion. Somehow, in the weeks after this, he finds out that you have a genetic predisposition to developing breast cancer and quickly terminates you. As long as your capacity to perform the essential duties of your job with reasonable accommodations has not changed, you should not have been terminated. This is wrongful termination under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).
- Any boss who fires an employee based on this type of information, no matter how it was obtained, could face penalties from the federal government.
- After two years at your company, you take pregnancy leave. Before you’ve finished your predetermined amount of leave, your boss fires you. This is wrongful termination under Title VII of the Civil Rights act of 1964.
Your employer terminated you for whistleblowing or filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Employment laws generally protect employees that report illegal conduct in their workplace. Reporting criminal or other illegal conduct committed by your boss or co-workers is “whistleblowing.” Read the following examples:
- You work for a toy manufacturing company and learn that some of the toys are faulty and may sometimes cause injury to children that use them. After bringing this to the attention of your manager, he fails to respond. You escalate your complaint to the CEO of your company and/or a government agency. Immediately, your boss fired you.
- Although you were trying to do the right thing, your boss terminated you. The law protects you in the case from termination because you were trying to
- As a construction worker, you frequently overextend parts of your upper body and sustain a shoulder injury. You made multiple attempts at requesting accommodation for your injury. Certainly, your injury could have been prevented with proper safety protocols. Nonetheless, your manager fails to act. After weighing your options, you feel there is nothing else you can try to solve things amicably. You file a workers compensation claim and take time to recover at home. Your boss fires you.
- This is illegal, retaliatory behavior. If you were injured at work and file a workers’ compensation claim, you are protected from termination. You deserve to keep your position while you recover from an injury.
Your employment contract required your employer to provide “cause” for your termination
Go back and read your employment contract. Most states are “at will” employment states. This means that employers don’t need a reason to fire someone (unless the termination is based on discrimination). However, your employment contract might help you. If it states that you may only be fired if your employer has “just cause.” Take this for example:
- Your coworkers liked you. You always performed at a high level. After many years, all of your performance reviews prove your worth to the company. Out of nowhere, your boss decided to fire you because he wants to hire a friend or business associate. If your employment contract had a “just cause” stipulation, your boss violated that clause. You would be able to pursue a wrongful termination case against him.
You were discussing labor or workplace issues with your co-workers
Employees cannot be terminated for engaging in protected activities. A protected activity is whistle blowing, as outlined above. Protected activities also include talking to colleagues about ways to improve working conditions or wages. Remember: as long as your capacity to perform the essential duties of your job with reasonable accommodations has not changed, you should not have been terminated. The National Labor Relations Act of 1935 guarantees the rights of employees to form or join unions, engaged in protected, concerted efforts to improve working conditions, or altogether refrain from engaging in these activities.
- You and a few of your colleagues meet after work to discuss ways in which you think your workplace needs improvement. You come up with a proposal to submit to your boss. Because of this, he fires all of you. By most definitions, this is wrongful termination.
Keep in mind that the law does not protect individuals from complaining about unfair working conditions. If your boss overhears you venting to your colleagues about him, he can fire you and that would not be wrongful termination.
Wrongful Termination Attorney in Texas
The attorneys at Leichter Law dedicate themselves to Employment and Administrative law. Attorney David Langenfeld is one of the elite few in Texas to earn the title of Board Certified Specialist in Labor and Employment Law. He has been fighting for the rights of employees in Texas for nearly thirty years. After many years in fighting against unfair employers, he knows exactly which tactics to employ against them. These examples of wrongful termination barely scratch the surface of egregious actions by ex employers. Do not fight against your ex-employer without the help of an experienced Employment lawyer. David Langenfeld will be your strongest possible advocate. Request a free consultation by contacting us online or by calling 512.495.9995.