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When Can You Sue an Employer for Wrongful Termination?

If you’ve recently been terminated from a job, you might be wondering if your former employer was actually within their rights to fire you, or whether your dismissal constitutes wrongful termination. There are many reasons why you may have been let go from your job, whether it’s down to something that you did, or simply because you were employed at will, meaning that your employer can legally fire you at any time for any reason, or even no reason at all, as long as it is not discriminatory towards you. So, unless you were in an employment contract or had an agreement with your employer that mandates a certain amount of notice, it’s legal for your employer to fire you without giving notice. Your employer will also not have been obligated to provide you with an opportunity to correct any issues relating to your work performance before terminating you, although many employers will have company policies which include an improvement plan.

Examples of Wrongful Termination:

If you have been laid off from your job for a discriminatory reason, then it is usually a case of wrongful dismissal. This could be, for example, due to your age or sex, your race or skin color, your religion, sexual orientation, disability or illness, or if you have fallen pregnant and the termination was directly related to any of these things. You can also sue or file a complaint against your former employer if they terminated your employment on the basis of a complaint that you have been sexually harassed in the workplace, fired you for whistleblowing, forced you to resign or forced you to endure a hostile work environment.

If You Feel The Termination Was Discriminatory:

If you feel that your employment termination was based on discrimination, then you will need to file a charge of discrimination with the EDOC before you can file a lawsuit against your former employer. Bear in mind that you will have a time limit within which you can file. This is generally 180 days from the time of the incident, although this is extended to 300 days by some local laws. Check the laws in your particular state first to ensure that you meet the deadline.

Know Your Goal for Suing:

What is your goal for suing your former employer? Do you want financial compensation, an apology or change in behavior, or simply the satisfaction that comes with knowing that you didn’t let them get away with treating you that way? It’s important to know exactly what you are aiming for before you get involved in a lengthy legal process.

Be Willing to Invest Time and Money:

Last but not least, are you willing to invest time and money in pursuing your case? Bear in mind that unless you can find a pro bono wrongful termination attorney, you can expect to pay legal fees and other associated costs. If you’re suing for compensation, you’ll likely need to pay a percentage of it to your representation. On the other hand, bear in mind that many wrongful termination cases don’t reach court as employers decide to settle.

If you feel that you have been fired for unfair or wrongful reasons, it’s important to know which next steps you want to take.

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