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An overview of wrongful termination claims

If you've been fired from a job there are some important things to think about in determining whether or not you may have been wrongfully terminated. Not every firing is a wrongful termination. However, if you feel you may have been the victim of a wrongful discharge, there are several ways to determine if you might have a claim against your employer.

A wrongful termination is any firing that is in violation of state or federal law, in violation of an employment agreement or contract or goes against public policy. Most commonly, people know that they cannot be fired for discriminatory reasons. State and federal laws protect employees from discrimination. If there is direct or circumstantial evidence of discrimination, including verbal or written statements by your employer, or actions by your employer that tend to implicate discriminatory motives, then you may have a wrongful termination claim. For example, if only women employees were let go during a recent round of layoffs, this may be evidence of a discriminatory action by the employer.

In addition to discrimination, a wrongful termination claim may also be based on harassment in the workplace. State and federal laws also protect employees from workplace harassment. For instance, if an employer regularly made derogatory jokes and insulting comments about women, this is a form of harassment that creates a hostile work environment and a wrongful termination lawsuit may be appropriate in these circumstances.

Retaliation is another possible basis for a wrongful termination lawsuit. If you have reported discriminatory practices or harassment in the workplace, or if you have filed any other complaints, such as an unsafe work environment, it is unlawful for an employer to terminate employment in retaliation for such complaints. For instance, if, prior to your termination, you reported harassment in the workplace, participated in an investigation for this complaint and were subsequently fired, this may be a form of retaliation and could serve as a basis for a wrongful termination lawsuit. If you feel that you have been wrongfully terminated for any reason, it is essential that you consult with an experienced employment law attorney.