If you were recently fired from your job and are considering hiring a wrongful termination lawyer in attempts to sue your former employer, it is important to know whether you have grounds for a lawsuit. As more than half of these cases are won by the employee, knowing the basics of wrongful termination law can be helpful in navigating your rights.
First, it is important to know the terms of your hiring. The majority of employees within the United States are “at will,” which means that they can get fired at any time for any reason. Generally, law permits this firing to come without notice, a hearing, or a possibility of legal action.
With this in mind, however, there are exceptions to at-will policy. If the circumstances of your employment or termination fall under the following conditions, you and your lawyer have a better chance of building a case.
- Written Contracts: If you were hired under a written document ensuring your job security, your termination may be unlawful. Any written documents could be presentable in court as evidence of wrongful termination.
- Implied Contracts: While not as concrete as a written contract, thus often difficult to prove in court, implied contracts are based on statements and actions by your employer. This includes, for example, spoken statements about promised job promotions and positive performance reviews. It could also include statements ensuring long-term employment when you were hired.
- Breach of a Duty of Good Faith and Fair Dealing: This exception to at-will employment exists when an employer fires an employee, usually in a sudden and sneaky manner, despite the employee’s good job performance. This usually happens when an employer has an alternative agenda for the firing, such as not giving an employee nearing retirement their full pension package or wanting to replace the employee with someone who will work for a lower salary.
- Violation of Public Policy: Most states have a law protecting employees from getting fired for following public policy. For example, an employer cannot fire an employee for refusing to discriminate against another employee or taking time off for jury duty.
While reviewing your case, also look into whether you were fired due ti discrimination, disability, or for reasons of retaliation. All of these reasons for firing someone are illegal and may be case for a lawsuit. Your wrongful termination lawyer will be able to review and define the specifics of the of your case.