If you have recently been laid off or fired you may wonder if there is any chance you can sue. There are a lot of reasons you can be fired and they are perfectly legal. There are cases in which you can sue. If you are unclear on whether you can sue or not, you can always check with a wrongful termination lawyer but there are times when it is definitely not ok to be let go from a job.
There are a number of reasons you can sue a former employer for a wrongful dismissal. The illegal reasons for being terminated include:
Any kind of discrimination. There are federal protections against being fired for because of your race, color, nationality, genetic data, religion, gender, disability or if you are over the age of 40 years old. Depending on where you live, there may be additional protections that cover your sexual orientation, marital status or gender identity. You can check with a wrongful termination lawyer or your state or city government to find out about those protections and see if they apply to you.
You cannot be fired for following common public policy. There are things that you are legally allowed to do, for instance you are allowed to vote. You cannot be let go for exercising that right. If you see wrongdoing at your company and you want to report that, you cannot be fired for doing so. This sometimes happens when an employee sees something such as accounting fraud. An employer cannot compel you to commit a crime. This can include putting incorrect labels on company products or lying to auditors.
If you complain to management about illegal behavior that you are the victim of or that you witness, you cannot be fired for that. This can include discrimination, harassment, safety concerns in the workplace, hour or wage violations and anything of that nature. If you did repot something and lost your job, you should seek out a wrongful termination lawyer.
If you have a contract that has been breached, it may be a wrongful termination case. Most staff are considered to be “at will” employees and can be terminated for almost any reason. They can also quit for any reason. Not every employee falls into this category and if you have a contact that says you cannot be fired unless you commit some sort of gross misconduct or financial malfeasance, you can sue.
Does my case rise to the level of wrongful termination?
If any of the situations listed above look familiar or you feel they apply to you, you should definitely talk to a wrongful termination lawyer. They can go over the details of your case and let you know if they think you can sue your former employer for letting you go illegally. When lawyers take on these cases, the employee wins in about 50% of of the cases. In some areas, that rate can be as high as 70%.
There may also be options beyond a lawsuit. They can also work to get you a settlement or negotiate some kind of better severance package that is better than the one you received. When you talk to them, they can give you a sense of what you are up against and what it will take to fight your former employer. It may not be worth your time and effort and they can help you make that decision. You will be in a better position to decide how strong of a case you have after you talk to a wrongful termination lawyer.
If your former employer tries to make you sign anything, you should absolutely seek out the advice of a qualified wrongful termination lawyer. At the very least, you need someone to look that over who has your interests at heart.
Civil cases are on the rise the United States. According to the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, the cost to the economy from them is $239 billion each year. That is no reason to not go to at attorney if you suspect you have a case against your former employer, it should just give you a sense of how many civil cases are pending at any time.