Wrongful Termination in Georgia

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Wrongful Termination in Georgia

In the state of Georgia, employment is presumed to be "at-will" when no contract exists between the employer and employee. At-will employment arrangements allow either the employer or employee to terminate the work relationship at any given time. The termination may be done for any stated reason, so long as law does not prohibit the reason. Because each party has so much discretion when terminating the relationship, at-will employment in Georgia can make wrongful termination suits very complicated.

Discrimination as Grounds or Wrongful Termination

Due to Georgia’s status as an at-will employment state, most wrongful termination claims are based on some sort of violation of law. The most common basis for a wrongful termination lawsuit in Georgia is illegal discrimination.

For example, it is illegal for an employer to fire a worker simply because of a physical characteristic. Workers cannot be fired because they are of a certain nationality, race, religion, sex etc. Other examples of illegal termination include terminating the worker to avoid paying benefits or disability pay, or firing a worker for taking pregnancy leave.

Employment Contracts

On the other hand, employment contracts are allowed in Georgia. Violations of an employment contract can also lead to a wrongful termination or wrongful discharge claim. For example, if the contract clearly indicates a certain date for termination, and the employer terminates the worker before the date without good reason, this could be considered wrongful termination.

Wrongful termination can also be based on an implied contract, such as when an employee reasonably relies on termination policies presented in an employee handbook or procedures the employer implemented while firing other workers within the company. Although no formal contract exists, the fired employee can sometimes recover under a "quantum meruit" theory, wherein the worker receives compensation for their services rendered.

Public Policy Violations

Finally, in the state of Georgia, it is possible to file a wrongful termination claim if the termination violates public policy. Public policy violations include firing a worker who has reported misconduct, or firing a worker because they missed work to take jury duty.

Remedies for Wrongful Termination

The state of Georgia allows a number of remedies for victims of wrongful termination. Some of these include reinstatement to the former job position, entitlement to back pay, and injunctive remedies (such as requiring the employer to enforce new termination policies).

Consulting an Attorney

A qualified Georgia lawyer can help you determine whether there is a legal basis for a claim. He can help you file all the necessary court papers, represent you in court, and even help you obtain the appropriate remedy.

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Last Modified: 02-19-2014 02:35 PM PST

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