Reporting unlawful termination may be necessary in instances where an employee was fired in a way that violates the law. Unlawful termination, or "wrongful termination," can occur for various reasons. Some examples of unlawful termination include:
- Firing an employee in a way that breaches the terms of an employment contract.
- Firing an employee because they reported a violation (called "retaliatory discharge").
- Terminating an employee in such a manner that it constitutes employment discrimination.
- Firing an employee who has complained about safety and working conditions.
- Firing an employee in a way that contradicts company policies as stated in the employee handbook.
How Can I Report Unlawful Termination?
Generally speaking, reporting unlawful termination can be initiated by filing a claim with a government employment agency. There are many different agencies that can handle such claims. It depends on what the legal issue is when it comes to selecting an agency to file with. Once the claim is submitted, the government agency will begin an investigation into the unlawful termination issue.
For instance, unlawful termination claims that involve discrimination should be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC specifically handles termination claims that involve discrimination issues. Or, if your claim involves health or safety conditions at the workplace, you’d generally be filing with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which handles these types of issues.
It’s usually necessary to file a claim with such a government agency before you can file a private lawsuit, though there may be some exceptions to this rule.
What Are the Legal Remedies for Unlawful Termination?
In most cases, the immediate remedy for an unlawful termination claim is that the plaintiff will be reinstated back to their work position before they were fired. Other remedies may include a damages award to reimburse the person for lost wages and other expenses caused by the unlawful termination. The company may sometimes be required to adjust their termination policies so that they conform to legal standards.
Do I Need an Employment Lawyer?
Reporting unlawful termination can sometimes by a complex task. As you have seen, there may be different ways to file your claim, as different agencies are responsible for different employment issues. You may wish to hire a qualified employment lawyer for help filing an agency claim, or for help filing a lawsuit. Your attorney can provide you with the legal advice and support that is needed to protect your interests during the process.