If you hate your job and decide to stop showing up for work, chances are you’ll get fired. And you aren’t likely to be surprised by that termination. But what if your termination is unjust? Sometimes a worker is terminated for the wrong reasons, and sometimes these reasons are illegal. If you think you’ve been wrongfully terminated from a job, what do you do?
An at-will employee is a worker who can be fired at any time for any reason, with few exceptions. Although most employment is at will, you may have an employment contract that states otherwise. If you have a written contract or statement promising you a certain level of job security, these promises may be legally enforceable.
Sometimes these promises are made in writing, and sometimes they are verbal. A written promise is significantly easier to prove, but an experienced MA employment law attorney may be able to help you prove that an implied promise existed. In making this determination, courts will look at the following factors:
- How long were you employed?
- Did you receive positive reviews and job promotions, and how often?
- Did your employer violate its usual employment practices in your termination?
- Were you promised long-term employment when hired?
Your claim of an implied promise may be supported, for example, if you have been employed at company A for years, have received frequent promotions, and company A failed to provide its standard written warning prior to your termination.
Why Would an Employer Wrongfully Terminate Someone?
Wrongful terminations can occur for many reasons. Some of the most common reasons include
- preventing an employee from collecting sales commissions.
- replacing a long-term employee with an entry-level employee willing to work for less pay.
- discrimination, such as when an employee refuses a supervisor’s sexual advances, or when a supervisor discovers that an employee is gay.
In some cases, an employer will try to avoid a wrongful termination lawsuit by getting the employee to quit on his or her own. To do so, the employer might subject the employee to unpleasant or difficult tasks, such as multiple transfers, dangerous assignments, and unpopular shifts. This is also illegal.
Illegitimate Grounds for Termination
Even at-will employees are protected from termination in certain situations. The following reasons are recognized as illegal grounds for termination:
- Missing work for jury duty
- Missing work to vote
- Missing work to serve in the National Guard or military
- Whistleblowing (providing information about harmful or illegal activity)
Workplace discrimination is illegal. If you feel that you were fired because of your membership in a protected class, including race, gender, religion, and disability, a Boston employment law attorney can help you protect your rights.
You are also protected against employer retaliation for engaging in a legally protected activity, such as reporting your employer to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or blowing the whistle on illegal activity. If you can show that your termination was directly linked to your participation in a protected activity, your employer’s actions may have been retaliatory. And employer retaliation doesn’t require employee termination; even a negative review or demotion can be a form of retaliation.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Top Employment Law Firm in MA
If you have been wrongfully terminated, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been protecting the rights of MA workers for more than 50 years. Our experienced, knowledgable attorneys will review the details of your case to determine the best legal strategy, and we’ll ensure that you fully understand your rights and options before moving forward. Losing a job can be financially devastating. If you lost your job due to discrimination, retaliation, or any other illegal practice, we can help. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.