Losing a job is an emotional and difficult event to go through. This is not only challenging because it means one’s income has stopped, but it could also harm one’s reputation. As such, an employee should be well informed of their situation and whether they were rightfully terminated. In other words, if one has suffered a wrongful termination, it is possible to take steps to correct this wrongdoing.
What is a wrongful termination?
In simple terms, a wrongful termination occurs when an employee is fired from their job in violation of federal, state or local laws. In some cases, it could be due to a protected characteristic. This means that an employee was fired based on their race, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability or other protected characteristic. Additionally, a wrongful termination could occur if the terms of an employment agreement were violated.
Evidence of discrimination
To begin, an employee should consider whether they were fired based on discrimination. As such, an employee should assess whether they were terminated because of their age, gender, race, disability or any other protected characteristics. Evidence of this could be direct statements, circumstantial evidence or preferential treatment.
Harassment or a hostile workplace could be the basis of a wrongful termination. The work environment could become so hostile that an employee is forced to quit. This could be deemed a wrongful termination.
Evidence of wrongful firing
A wrongful termination could also be the result of workplace retaliation. An employee may have reported illegal practices in the workplace, and, as a result, was terminated. This is retaliation against whistleblowing.
Finally, a wrongful termination could occur due to a breach of an employment contract. If there is an employment contract in place, it may establish which reasons for termination are permissible. Additionally, an employer’s policy handbook may also outline termination, discipline and advancement. If these terms are violated when an employee is fired, this could evidence a wrongful termination.
It is not always clear what rights are afforded to an employee. Thus, it is imperative that you take the time to understand why you were terminated and what the terms of your employment are. This information could help explain whether the termination was lawful or not. Additionally, this can help outline what actions could be taken if it is in fact a wrongful termination.