The 3 most common types of wrongful termination which are whistle blowing and retaliation, discrimination and breach of contract.
Few employees sign an employment contract with their employer because it is not required as employees are mostly employed ‘at will.’
This means either of the two parties may terminate the relationship without giving a reason. However, this doesn’t mean that the employer has the right at all times to terminate an employee.
If an employee has found that the employer has terminated the employment relationship because the employer has retaliated due to the fact that the employee has acted as a whistleblower then it may be possible to file a wrongful termination claim.
Whistle blowing and Retaliation
A whistle blower is someone who discovers his/her employer has been violating the law and reports them to the relevant authority.
Under most state laws it is illegal for an employee to be fired after whistle blowing and this is considered to be a violation of the law.
The violation could be something the complaining employee is experiencing such as sexual harassment which is prohibited in workplaces which an employer is expected to stop but has failed to do so or it could be another type of violation such as illegal polluting which may be into the air or water.
The law is supposed to protect employees when they whistle blow and file complaints about employers.
Many states have additional laws in place that further protect employees from being fired as a form of retaliation.
Federal and state laws prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their legal rights in certain situations.
Most states also have laws barring employment discrimination even if the employee is on ‘at will’ employment terms as most employees are.
Being terminated due to your race, color, national origin, gender, pregnancy, religion or age is protected under Title VII of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
One example is when a female employee reports to her employer that she is pregnant and next finds she gets a termination notice.
It is illegal to terminate an employee for that reason so the first thing an employee should try to do is gather evidence to prove the termination is wrongful.
Age is often another factor which is a reason for a termination but this is not legal under discrimination laws so anyone who has the evidence to prove they have been fired due to age may be eligible to file a compensation claim for unlawful discrimination.
Breach of Contract
If you have a contract or employment agreement which has been drawn up between you and your employer whether written or oral your employer cannot break the contract and fire you.
Contracts often place limits on an employer’s right to fire an employee so if the employer violates the terms of the contract and fires, you may have the grounds to file a lawsuit.
A few states also recognize implied contracts. These are agreements between you and your employer or in a job offer letter.
It does not have to be in the form of a drawn up and signed contract between you and your employer so if you believe you have been wrongfully terminated you may still be able to file a lawsuit for the violating by your employer of your employment agreement.
In a few situations a court may find an implied contract of employment that limits the employer's right to terminate an employee without cause.
For example, the terms of an employee manual might support an employee's claim that the employer is required to follow a defined disciplinary process before terminating.
Also, if your employer broke a promise by firing you, you may be able to collect damages for what’s known as “breach of contract” if you have the evidence to prove you have been wrongfully terminated. You may even be reinstated back into your job as well.
Get Help Today
If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated, you should fill out a free evaluation form to get connected with a wrongful termination lawyer who takes cases in your area!