Do I Have the Right to Sue My Employer for Illegal Termination?
Getting fired from a job can be an extremely stressful experience for anyone. On top of that, if you feel that your termination was illegal, you might want file a lawsuit against your employer. But the plaintiff is required to prove that the firing was unlawful.
Before filing a lawsuit against your employer, you must ensure that there are grounds to do so. For that, it is necessary that you understand what qualifies as a wrongful termination.
In U.S., most employments are ‘at will’, hence all employers have the right to fire you at any time, for any reason, or without any reason, as long as it isn’t due to some kind of discrimination. But even then, the termination must be in compliance with the laws.
Termination Reasons Prohibited by Law
There are several forms of a wrongful termination, which includes an agreement breach, retaliation, or violating discrimination laws or organization policy.
Most of the times, discrimination is the reason behind a wrongful termination. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has listed several kinds of discrimination that employees become victim to, which include race, color, gender, religion, age, disability, pregnancy, and nationality.
Although the federal government doesn’t consider discrimination on the basis of a person’s sexual orientation illegal yet, but state and local governments consider the LGBTQ community as a protected group of people, which makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against them on the basis of their orientation.
Other than discrimination, the EEOC also covers retaliation as an illegal reason for firing someone from the job. Under some circumstances, employers might fire employees for retaliation for taking actions like,
- Filing a complaint about workplace safety violationswith OSHA.
- Declining to take a lie detector test.
- Filing a claim for workers compensation after getting injured during work.
- Whistle blowing.
- Filing a complaint with HR regarding discrimination, harassment, wage violations, etc. Complaining about the employer’s illegal conduct.
- Exercising a legal right.
Violating an employment contract is also another way to wrongfully fire an employee.
Filing a Charge for a Wrongful Termination
If you’re sure that your firing was motivated due to discriminatory reasons or as a retaliation, you have the right to file a complaint with the EEOC. Once you’ve provided the required documents, the agency will investigate and make a decision.
If they send you the dismissal and notice of rights letter, it means that even though they believe that the employer hasn’t violated any laws, you can still file a lawsuit against them. Whereas the letter of determination means that the agency believes that you have grounds to file a lawsuit.
The letter is sent to both the plaintiff and the defendant, for the possibility of a settlement between the two parties. If this attempt is not successful, you receive a right to sue letter from the agency meaning that you can proceed with filing a lawsuit.
In both cases, the victim gets a 90 days period from the date of the letter to file a wrongful termination lawsuit.
If there is ever any confusion regarding what is legal interaction and what may qualify as discrimination, contact our Wrongful Termination attorney at Eldessouky Law in South California today at (714) 793-0594 to understand your rights, and hold your employer accountable if they are in violation of state or federal laws.