Wrongful Termination -- Employee Law

How Do You Report Wrongful Termination?

You can report wrongful termination in several ways. How you report it depends on your specific circumstances. You can file a complaint with the government. Or you may be able to file a wrongful termination lawsuit in court.

This article explains how you can report wrongful termination and seek compensation. States have different wrongful termination laws, so you should contact a wrongful termination lawyer in your area. An experienced attorney can give you legal advice. They can also help you report wrongful termination.

What Is Wrongful Termination?

Most U.S. employees are at-will. Your boss can fire you for any lawful reason under at-will employment. But some federal and state laws make it illegal for your boss to fire you in some cases. Wrongful termination is when you’re fired for one of these reasons.

Reporting Wrongful Termination

Most wrongful termination laws have a statute of limitations. Be sure to get legal help if you were fired for an unlawful reason so you don’t miss your chance to seek justice.

How you report wrongful termination depends on the reason your boss fired you. You’ll often have to file a complaint with a state or federal government agency first. You may be able to file a wrongful termination lawsuit, also, but that option is only available in particular cases.

Wrongful termination cases fall into four categories. These categories depend on the reason your employer fired you.

Employment Discrimination

State and federal laws make it illegal for employers to discriminate against you. Your boss can’t take adverse action against you because of your:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex, including gender identity and sexual orientation
  • National origin
  • Age if you’re over 40
  • Disability
  • Genetic information

State laws may provide more protections. You can file discrimination claims with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You may also be able to file a complaint with a state agency. An attorney can advise you about where to report your claims.

Retaliation

Retaliation is when your boss fires you for reporting illegal activities. Whistleblower protection laws keep your boss from firing you in this case. How you report an incident depends on the nature of the unlawful activity. For example, inform the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or a state agency if you report unsafe working conditions. You should notify the EEOC if you also reported workplace discrimination.

State and federal employment laws give you certain employment rights. It’s illegal for your employer to fire you for exercising these rights. An example is taking leave under a medical leave act the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to treat a medical condition.

You should contact your state employment agency for state law violations. And you should contact the appropriate federal agency for federal law violations. For example, contact the U.S. Department of Labor for FMLA violations.

Breach of Contract

Not all employees have an employment contract. But if you have one, it will specify why your boss can fire you. It will also lay out the process your boss must follow. It’s illegal for your employer to breach your contract when it fires you.

How to report a breach of contract depends on the nature of your contract. You should contact your union if you have a collective bargaining agreement. If it’s a non-union contract, you may be able to file a wrongful termination lawsuit in court.

Be aware that not all contracts are in writing. An implied contract is an unwritten contract. The conduct of the parties creates it. Provisions in your employee handbook can also create an implied contract.

An implied contract is enforceable in court. But it can be hard to know when there’s an implied contract. After all, it’s not written down. And you didn’t sign anything. An employment attorney can help you decide if you have an implied contract.

Should I Report Wrongful Termination to Human Resources?

You may hesitate to report wrongful termination to human resources (HR). Whether you should depends on your unique case. HR may resolve the issue faster than filing a complaint or a lawsuit.

But there can be situations where notifying HR is not the best option. For example, if you think HR participated in your firing. It’s also possible that your former employer will retaliate against you. An employment attorney can help you assess the pros and cons of talking to HR.

Contact an Employment Lawyer for Help With Your Case

How to report wrongful termination depends on your circumstances. Did your employer break a federal or state law? What law did it break? Should you contact HR first? Wrongful termination cases can be complex, so knowing your legal rights is essential. An employment lawyer can give you legal advice about your situation and the best way to proceed that protect your chances of recovering compensation for your losses.

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