What Does Wrongful Termination Look Like?
When you work hard, are genuinely good at your job, get along with your coworkers, and have zero issues with your employer, being suddenly terminated can raise a lot of questions, the biggest of which is why? Was it something you said? Something you did or did not do? Could you have done something different and prevented your being fired? In some instances of sudden termination, the answers are clear cut: a worker lost his or her employer money; he or she caused irreparable damage to a significant corporate connection; he or she showed up late one too many times, despite ample warnings. In other instances, the problem is not so obvious, if there is even a “problem” at all. It is in these latter instances that our Tampa labor and employment attorneys consider the possibility of wrongful termination.
Wrongful termination can occur for any number of reasons. Some more obvious instances of wrongful firing occur when an employer fires a person because of age or directly after a worker files a workers’ compensation claim. Other instances, such as when an employer fires someone because of race or gender, are not so obvious. Regardless of the reason, wrongful termination is difficult to prove and requires the investigative skills and resourcefulness of an experienced wrongful termination lawyer.
Common Types of Wrongful Termination
Wrongful termination can take many forms. Though laws vary from state to state, below are five times when your firing may have been illegal:
- You Were Discussing Labor Issues With Coworkers: Per the National Labor Relations Act, individuals employed in the U.S. cannot be fired for discussing workplace or labor issues with colleagues. This is true regardless of whether or not you are protected by a Union. If you were fired for talking with a coworker about improving work conditions, increasing wages, or inciting some type of improvement, you may have a retaliation and wrongful termination claim.
- Your Contract Requires a “Cause” for Termination: Like all other states in the Union, Florida is an “at will” employment state, meaning that employers do not have to have a reason for firing employees (so long as reasons are never illegal). However, if you signed an employment contract that specifically states that you cannot be fired without “cause,” which should be outlined in the contract, but you are terminated regardless without cause, you may have a wrongful termination suit. You may also have a claim if you were let go with cause but the cause was not one listed in your contract.
- Your Employer Retaliated Against You: If you were fired soon after filing a whistleblower claim, filing a workers’ compensation claim, or performing some other protected activity, your termination may be an act of retaliation. If it is, your employer may face impending legal troubles.
- Your Employer Discriminated Against You: Despite the strides our country has made in terms of discrimination of any kind, you would be surprised by just how often workplace discrimination continues to occur. The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission outlines the various types of discrimination and relevant laws that protect employees’ rights.
Wrongful termination is not limited to the above instances. However, above are the most common forms that wrongful termination take.
Contact a Tampa Labor And Employment Lawyer
If you believe that your employer fired you for an illegal reason, you may have rights to damages, severance pay, and unemployment compensation. You may even have grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit. An experienced Tampa wrongful termination attorney can help you explore your legal options and make the most of your situation. Contact Barbas, Nuñez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian today to learn more.