What Makes a Termination Wrongful?
You have undoubtedly heard of wrongful termination: the act of firing an employee for an illegal reason, such as his or her race or sex. But there is much more to proving that a wrongful termination occurred. This is where it can become tricky and many individuals, even those who do have a legitimate claim, can miss out on the compensation they deserve for their damages.
Whether you were fired in what you believe was an act of discrimination or as a form of retaliation for exercising one of your rights, such as your right to seek workers’ compensation after suffering an injury, seek legal guidance and representation from an experienced employment attorney.
Factors that Must be Met for a Wrongful Termination Claim
First, it is important to establish exactly what constitutes an act of wrongful termination. Examples are as follows:
- Acts of retaliation. If an employee is terminated after he or she exercised a right, such as the right to join a labor union or the right to seek workers’ compensation after being injured, he or she may have grounds for a wrongful termination claim if he or she can prove the termination was a direct response to his or her actions. Employees who engage in whistleblowing might also face retaliation;
- Violations of an employment contract. Aside from actual employment contracts, other documents, such as employee handbooks, can be considered to be implicit employment contracts if they discuss a company’s policy about termination or other similar topics. If you are terminated in a manner or for a reason that is in violation of your contract, you could have grounds for a wrongful termination claim;
- Acts of discrimination. Firing an individual because of his or her race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, sex, veteran status, religion, disability, or national origin is discrimination; and
- Acts of constructive discharge. Sometimes, an employer can force an employee to quit by making his or her work environment too difficult for him or her to continue working there. This, too, can be considered to be a form of wrongful termination of the employee can prove that the changes to the work environment were instituted to cause him or her to leave.
The burden of proof is on the individual filing the wrongful termination claim. This means that he or she must be able to show that the firing was due to one of the reasons listed above, rather than due to his or her poor performance. Ways that an employee can prove this are through emails, saved meeting notes or testimonies of phone calls and conversations, and through an investigation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In cases where the termination was a violation of an employment contract, the contract itself is an important piece of evidence.
Like with other types of claim, a claimant must prove that he or she suffered financial damages as a result of the termination. You will need to prove that your financial health was negatively impacted by the termination, which can be done by demonstrating your growing debt or testimonies from those close to you.
Work with a New York Employment Attorney
A wrongful termination can significantly impact your career. If you are a victim of an illegal practice in your workplace, work with an experienced employment attorney to file a claim and make things right. To learn more about the process of filing a wrongful termination claim with your employer, contact The Robert A. Koenigsberg Law Office to schedule your free legal consultation. During this consultation, you can find out the requirements that must be met for a valid wrongful termination claim and how you can pursue your case.