Wrongful Termination And Retaliatory Discharge

It has been said that, along with death and divorce, one of the most devastating things a person can experience is being fired from work. Being fired is often made worse when you know you weren't fired because you were bad at your job or chronically late or even just because of the economy...what’s worse is when you didn't deserve to be fired.

Most people are “employees at will” which means they don’t have a contract or aren't part of a union. When you’re an employee at will the boss can fire you for just about any reason. He might not like your attitude or your hair length or the color of your shoes. He can fire you for those things. It makes him a jerk, but he has the right to be a jerk. What he cant do is to fire you for exercising your legally protected rights or for having a “protected status.”

When a boss fires you because you decided to exercise your legal rights (examples: filing a workers’ compensation claim or taking FMLA time to care for a loved one) or because of some other reason (the color of your skin, pregnancy, your national origin, certain disabilities) then he may be subject to a lawsuit for retaliatory discharge or for wrongful termination. These lawsuits are complicated and involve state and federal agencies in addition to the courts. Below are some of the areas in which the law protects you from wrongful firing:

  • Filing a workers’ compensation injury?
  • Taking leave pursuant to the Family Medical Leave Act?
  • Reporting safety violations?
  • Whistle blowing (reporting abuses involving overcharging customers or the government)?
  • Because of your race?
  • Because of a disability?
  • Because of your gender/sex?

Stand up for yourself. Stand up to your boss. If you have questions about whether you were wrongfully fired then call us at (618) 655-9499 or arrange a free in-office consultation.