Despite the fact that many people who have lost jobs feel it was “wrongful,” particularly if it occurred without cause, the legal definition of wrongful termination is fairly specific. If you are fired for an illegal reason, such as a violation of federal anti-discrimination legislation or a contract breach, you have been terminated unfairly and are entitled to compensation. The employee’s firing cannot be based on his or her race, gender, ethnic origin, religion, or handicap. If an employee is dismissed as a result of filing a legal complaint against their employer or acting as a whistleblower, the employee is protected by law. The term “retaliation” is used to refer to such illegal conduct. The Wrongful Termination section of FindLaw covers what it means to be employed “at-will,” how to evaluate whether you have an implied employment contract, what constitutes wrongful termination, and how to file a case against your employer.
By contrast, Montana does not have a “at-will” employment policy. As a result, your employer has the authority to fire you at will, even if you have committed no wrongdoing. Employees terminated illegally (for retaliation, discrimination, or breach of contract) are exempt from this provision. If you can demonstrate that your dismissal was motivated by racial intolerance or a sexist culture, you may be entitled to bring a claim for wrongful termination.
Are You Confined by a Work Contract?
Employees who sign contracts outlining their tasks, responsibilities, and benefits have the right to expect their employers to adhere to these conditions. For instance, a written contract expressing a particular amount of work stability may be construed as establishing that the labor is not “at-will.” Additionally, the contract states that an employee may be terminated only if they fail to meet established standards, which means they cannot be terminated for any other reason. Even if you may not have a written employment contract, your employer may be bound by verbal promises.
Employment Loss Resulting from Discrimination
Racism, colorism, national origin, religion, disability, and pregnancy are the most often cited grounds for wrongful termination lawsuits involving discrimination. A workers compensation lawyer can also get involved. Federal and state legislation protects employees who exhibit certain qualities, including sexual orientation and gender identity. Because LGBT employees in California are protected, if a transgender employee is terminated, the employee may file a wrongful termination complaint against the employer.
If you believe you were fired on discriminatory grounds, you must file a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within the time period specified.
For instance, an employee cannot be fired (or otherwise penalized) for reporting sexual harassment to his or her employer or for attempting to organize a labor union. Employers who retaliate against an employee may be sued for wrongful termination. Protected activities include medical leave, jury duty, military service, voting, and participation in an official investigation into the employer’s actions.
Federal and most state regulations prohibit retaliation against employees who expose suspected legal infractions through so-called “whistleblower” rights. For example, a whistleblower act protects an employee who informs the EPA that her employer is dumping toxic waste illegally into the local watershed (at least at the federal level).