What is Wrongful Termination?
Wrongful termination is the act of firing an employee for reasons that are illegal or unjustified. It occurs when an employer violates an employee’s rights or breaches their employment contract. Wrongful termination can result in serious financial and emotional harm to the employee, including lost wages, damage to their reputation, and emotional distress.
Types of Rrongful Termination
There are two main types of wrongful termination: illegal and unjustified. Illegal termination occurs when an employer fires an employee for reasons that are prohibited by law, such as discrimination or retaliation. Unjustified termination occurs when an employer fires an employee without a valid reason or without following proper procedures.
Illegal reasons for termination
There are several illegal reasons for termination, including discrimination, retaliation, and violation of public policy. Discrimination occurs when an employee is fired because of their race, gender, age, religion, or other protected characteristic. Retaliation occurs when an employee is fired for reporting illegal or unethical behavior by their employer. Violation of public policy occurs when an employee is fired for refusing to engage in illegal or unethical behavior.
Unjustified reasons for termination
Unjustified termination occurs when an employer fires an employee without a valid reason or without following proper procedures. Examples of unjustified termination include firing an employee for making a mistake that did not harm the company, firing an employee for taking a sick day, or firing an employee without warning or progressive discipline.
Employment contracts and wrongful termination
Employment contracts can provide additional protections for employees against wrongful termination. These contracts typically outline the terms of employment, including the reasons for termination and the procedures that must be followed. If an employer breaches an employment contract by firing an employee without cause or without following proper procedures, the employee may have legal recourse.
At-will employment and wrongful termination
At-will employment is a common employment arrangement in which an employee can be fired at any time for any reason, as long as the reason is not illegal. However, even in at-will employment situations, employers must follow certain procedures and cannot fire an employee for illegal reasons.
Retaliation and wrongful termination
Retaliation occurs when an employer takes adverse action against an employee for engaging in protected activity, such as reporting illegal or unethical behavior. Retaliation can take many forms, including termination, demotion, or harassment. If an employee is fired in retaliation for engaging in protected activity, they may have legal recourse.
Discrimination and wrongful termination
Discrimination occurs when an employer treats an employee differently because of their race, gender, age, religion, or other protected characteristic. If an employee is fired because of discrimination, they may have legal recourse under federal or state anti-discrimination laws.
Protected classes and wrongful termination
Protected classes are groups of people who are protected under federal or state anti-discrimination laws. These groups include race, gender, age, religion, national origin, and disability. If an employee is fired because of their membership in a protected class they may have a valid claim for wrongful termination.
Steps to take if you have been wrongfully terminated:
- Document the circumstances: Keep records of the events that led to your termination, including any conversations, emails, or documentation related to your employment.
- Contact an attorney: Consult with an experienced employment lawyer who can evaluate your case and advise you on your legal options.
- Review your employment contract: If you had an employment contract, review it to determine if your employer breached any terms or conditions.
- File a complaint: File a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or a state employment agency, if applicable.
- Gather evidence: Collect any evidence that supports your claim, including emails, performance evaluations, and witness statements.
- Be prepared for litigation: If you decide to pursue legal action, be prepared for litigation. This can include depositions, witness statements, and court appearances.
Legal options for employees who have been wrongfully terminated:
- File a lawsuit: If you believe you were wrongfully terminated, you may be able to file a lawsuit against your employer for wrongful termination.
- File a complaint with the EEOC: The EEOC investigates claims of discrimination and retaliation, and can help resolve disputes through mediation or legal action.
- Seek damages: If you win your case, you may be entitled to damages, including lost wages, emotional distress, and attorney’s fees.
- Seek reinstatement: If you were wrongfully terminated, you may be entitled to be reinstated to your former position or a comparable one.
- Negotiate a settlement: Employers may be willing to settle wrongful termination claims out of court. This can involve a negotiation process with your attorney and the employer’s legal representative.
It’s important to note that the legal options available to employees who have been wrongfully terminated vary depending on the circumstances of their case. Consulting with an experienced employment lawyer can help you determine the best course of action for your specific situation.
How Mike Christensen Can Help
Mike Christensen can help individuals who have been wrongfully terminated in a number of ways. The experienced Columbus wrongful termination attorney can provide legal advice and guidance on the steps to take if you have been wrongfully terminated, evaluate the circumstances of your case, and determine if you have a viable claim for legal action. They can also represent you in negotiations or litigation and help you seek damages or reinstatement. If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated and are seeking for a wrongful termination attorney in Columbus, OH, contact Mike Christensen Law Offices for a free consultation today!