Most people have heard of wrongful termination on sitcoms or even in infamous films such as Philadelphia. But what exactly is meant by wrongful termination, and how do you prove that an employer has illegally terminated your contract?
If you are employed in the United States, you are likely to be employed at will. This legally means that your boss can fire you when they want to and for any reason. This also allows you to resign at any time. However, wrongful termination occurs when an employer fires you for an illegal reason.
But if you think your employment has been terminated illegally, what do you need to do, and what are the legal definitions of wrongful termination in the US? Read on to find out.
Examples of Wrongful Termination in the US
Going back to the example of the film Philadelphia, the character Andrew Beckett was fired for being diagnosed with AIDs. This would fall under an illegal firing, specifically a discriminatory firing. The Federal Law prohibits employers from firing employees based on their race, color, their religion, sex, or national origin, as well as their age, disability, or pregnancy. All of these are the essence of an EEOC wrongful termination, and if you have been fired and you feel that any of these are the reason, please seek legal advice.
Determining if You Have a Case
Of course, it can be very tough to determine that you were fired illegally, and whether you have a claim is based on multiple factors.
For instance, the laws relating to wrongful termination vary from state to state. If you are located in Washington, DC, it may be recognized that wrongful termination is based on gender identity discrimination. But a Virginia-based court will not take this case. So, if you are looking to seek legal representation based on being a member of the LGBTQ + community, it can be complicated based on where you live and where the firing took place.
Of course, as is the case with any legal procedure, the strength of the claim is based on the strength of the evidence. No employer will ever admit to firing someone for an illegal reason, and they may fabricate such a reason, which is something you will need to be prepared for.
That’s why you should work with a wrongful termination lawyer to learn about your rights and protect them. They can help prove that your claim is legally valid and deserves acknowledgment.
What If I Feel I Was Wrongfully Terminated?
If you believe that your employment was wrongfully terminated, then you will need to act quickly to seek legal guidance. There are strict deadlines for filing wrongful termination claims in court, but, once again, this will vary based on where you live. A key example is federal employees being removed from employment due to discrimination would need to file an appeal within 30 days, whereas private sector employees need to file a charge with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within 180 days. So, it is always best to seek legal help as well as representation as soon as you can to make sure these deadlines are not missed, and you get the justice you legally deserve.