Was It Wrongful Termination?
Wrongful termination occurs when an employee is fired illegally. The vast majority of states are what are called “at-will employment states.” In an at-will employment state, an employer can terminate an employee without providing cause or justification.
The termination is illegal when an employee is fired because of discriminatory practices in the workplace, when a company violates public policy in the process of terminating the employee, or when a company's own guidelines for termination were not followed.
What Constitutes Wrongful Termination?
Firing someone because of their race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, religion, age (40+), disability, citizenship status, or genetic information, violated federal law. In addition, states have their own discrimination statutes. For example, Tennessee bans businesses with at least eight employees from discriminating on the basis of race, national origin, sex, pregnancy, religion, creed, age (40+), and disability (physical, mental, or visual impairment). Tenn. Code Ann.§ 4-21-401 (2016).
Breach of Contract
In a terminated employee can show the existence of an implied contract for permanent employment, along with a termination that lacked proper cause, then they can sue for wrongful termination for breach of contact. Implied employment contracts that are based on statements contained in an employee handbook made by the employer may also provide protection to an employee from at-will termination.
It is illegal for you company to fire you because you filed a complaint against them or were a whistleblower who exposed the company’s wrong doing.
Employers may not terminate an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim. To have an action for wrongful termination, the employee much show he would not have been termination absent filing a working compensation claim.
Protected Time Off
Both federal and state law mandate that employees have the legal right to take time of from work under certain protected situations. It is illegal for an employer to fire, demote, or otherwise discipline an employee from exercising these rights. Examples of protected time off includes jury duty, leave to vote, military leave and leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
If you feel you were wrongfully terminated, contact us today.
Timothy L. Miles
Tim Miles Law Office | Toxic Baby Formula Lawyer