When employees are “at will,” employers have the right to terminate them for almost any reason at any time. However, there are some exceptions to this general principle, and if you were let go from your job for an illegal reason, you may be able to bring a wrongful termination lawsuit for damages.

Employees subject to a termination as the result of a legal violation can seek justice by filing a lawsuit. If you believe you may have been wrongfully terminated, speak to the experienced wrongful termination attorneys at Walton Law APC to learn whether you have viable grounds to seek compensation.

Discriminatory Wrongful Termination

Employers are prohibited from terminating someone based on their characteristic protected under federal or state law. Protected characteristics include such traits as sex, race, and disability. Even a mix of legitimate reasons and illegitimate discriminatory reasons for firing or laying off an employee may not save an employer from a wrongful termination lawsuit.

However, most companies are aware of anti-discrimination laws. Employers usually won’t admit they terminated a worker for a discriminatory reason. Rather, our lawyers would need to gather evidence to show discrimination played a part in a client’s termination. For example, we may be able to demonstrate an unlawful motive through:

  • Evidence the employer violated its standing company policies when terminating the employee, such as terminating without written warnings which are usually part of the standard procedure.
  • Proof that people lacking the protected characteristic kept their jobs or were promoted.
  • Similar behavior conducted against other employees with the same protected characteristic
  • Termination shortly after requesting pregnancy leave or after disclosing a pregnancy.
  • Discriminatory statements or comments – written or verbal – by a supervisor or employer.
  • Inconsistencies, contradictions, or other indicators that the employer’s reason for termination was a pretext for discriminatory motives. This could mean an employer’s decision to terminate an employee for missing work or absenteeism when they have been praised in all their previous performance evaluations for punctuality and perfect attendance may be a pretext to cover up an unlawful motive.

Retaliatory Wrongful Termination

Employers are prohibited from terminating any employee who engages in protected conduct such as:

  • Complaining about or reporting labor code violations such as failure to pay overtime.
  • Reporting or objecting to harassment.
  • Speaking up or complaining about discrimination.
  • Asking to take advantage of medical leave or other rights.
  • Contacting an outside agency or government entity to report legal violations by the company or reporting the problem to someone within the company who has the power to correct it.
  • Reporting unsafe working conditions.
  • Refusing to comply with a supervisor or employer’s order to participate in any illegal activities.

Breach of Contract Due to Wrongful Termination

Employees who are not “at will” may have formal written employment contracts or implied contracts based on their communication with their employer. These contracts usually contain clauses that address scenarios when termination may be appropriate and set out remedies for breach of contract claims.

Constructive Termination

Constructive discharge occurs when an employer purposefully creates working conditions that are so intolerable a reasonable person in your shoes would feel compelled to resign. These cases are hard to prove, and in most cases, you should not quit before talking to our lawyers.

Contact an Attorney Today

Losing your job is a stress-inducing, life-changing experience that can throw your finances into turmoil and add unnecessary worry to your life. When that termination is illegal, it adds insult to injury.

Even if your employer does not tell you the real reason for a termination, the skillful employment lawyers at Walton Law, APC can evaluate your situation and help determine if you may have a claim for wrongful termination. Get in touch with us by calling (866) 338-7079 or by completing our contact page.