Wrongful Termination Lawyers - Wrongful Discharge
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When Have I Been Wrongfully Terminated from a Job?
The rules for whether an employee was improperly fired or terminated from their job vary from state to state. The majority of states follow the rules of at-will employment.
"At-will" means that an employer can fire an employee for any reason the employer sees fit, provided it is not for an improper reason. If the employee is "at-will," any reason, including no reason, is a proper basis for termination. It does not make a difference whether the employee actually did anything wrong, or whether the employer misunderstood the facts of the situation.
Exceptions to an At-Will Employment Termination
An employer can fire an at-will employee for any reason, except for the following:
- Discrimination - The employer cannot terminate employment because the employee is a certain race, nationality, religion, sex, age, or in some states, sexual orientation.
- Retaliation - An employer cannot fire an employee because the employee filed a claim of discrimination or is participating in an investigation for discrimination. This "retaliation" is forbidden under civil rights law.
- Contractual Employees - Generally, an employee with an employment contract can only be terminated for the reasons stated in the contract. Employment contracts for specified periods of time or permitting terminations only for specific reasons are rare today.
- Illegal Acts - An employer is not permitted to fire an employee because the employee refuses to commit an act that is illegal.
- Family or Medical Leave - Federal law permits most employees to take a leave of absence for specific family or medical problems. An employer is not permitted to fire an employee who takes family or medical leave for a reason outlined in the Family and Medical Leave Act.
- Not Following Your Own Termination Procedure - Often, the employee handbook or company policy outlines a procedure that must be followed before an employee is terminated. If the employer fires an employee without following this procedure, the employee may have a claim for wrongful termination.
How Much Advance Notice Is Required Before I Can Be Terminated?
- Employers - Unless there is a company policy or employee handbook states otherwise, employers are not typically required to give advanced notice when firing an employee.
- Employees - Likewise, employees are not required to give advance notice unless there is a contract or company policy that states otherwise.
Should You Hire A Wrongful Termination Attorney?
If you believe you have been wrongful fired, an employment attorney can help you investigate the reasons for the termination and gather appropriate documents. If you also feel that you have been fired for an illegal reason, such as discrimination, a lawyer likely will be needed.
If you are an employer facing a wrongful termination lawsuit, you should speak to a lawyer immediately.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 01-12-2015 03:16 PM PST
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