Being let go from any position is hard on your ego and potentially devastating to your financial security and career. In some cases you may be let go for valid reasons, in other instances, you may feel you have been wrongfully terminated. Taking the time to learn a few things about wrongful termination can help you to determine if your boss had a valid reason for letting you go or not.
It starts with the contract or employment agreement
One of the first places that you should look upon termination is your original contract or employment agreement. If your agreement states that you can be fired at will, you really have no recourse against an employer who fires you without giving a reason. The “at will” clause absolves them of any need to state why you are being fired. If you have a signed contract with a clause saying you may only be fired for cause, then you may have a case. In these instances, your boss has to state why they are firing you. They have to give you a cause and in most cases, these causes are spelled out in the language of the contract.
There are certain things you just cannot talk about with your co-workers and there are things that you can. You cannot be fired for talking with other workers about things like forming a union, unjust working conditions, or other concerns you may have about the place where you work. If your boss fires you for trying to organize a labor union, for example, they may have broken the law.
Employer discrimination or retaliation
Your employer cannot fire you because of something you did that were not against the laws or the company’s employment policies. For example, if you see some kind of workplace misconduct, you may not be terminated specifically in retaliation for reporting the incident to human resources.
Your boss is also not allowed to discriminate against you. A good example would be if you were suddenly fired after your spouse or partner of the same sex showed up at the company to take you out to lunch. It is safe to assume that revealing your sexual orientation may have led to illegal dismissal. In short, discrimination protections extend to to race, gender, citizenship, sexual preference or any other factor that sets you apart.
Employers are also not allowed to fire someone due to medical history or current medical conditions. Under most circumstances, suspected or known medical conditions cannot be used to discriminate in the hiring process, nor can they be used as an excuse to fire someone.
Is a lawsuit the right option?
When it comes to suing your boss for wrongful termination it is always best to first seek legal counsel on the matter. A good lawyer or law team can work with you to determine what course of action is best, to help you decide if you have a case, and they can also help you collect the information that you need to move forward with your suit.