Most people feel betrayed and angry when they’ve been fired, no matter the reason for their termination. However, in some cases, an employer may have acted illegally. This is called wrongful termination, and when it happens to you, you could have grounds to sue for damages.
Of course, the hardest part of wrongful termination can be identifying when it actually happens. In this post, our Hartford employment law attorneys will touch on a few of the telltale signs that you’ve been wrongfully terminated – and discuss how you can get the compensation you need after your unjust losses.
How to Identify Wrongful Termination
According to the ACLU,more than 150,000 people are wrongfully terminated in the United States every year. But of those people, only a small percentage actually decide to take action against their employers. Typically, this is because an employer’s offer of a monetary severance package only comes with a signed agreement that includes a “gag” clause, preventing the individual from pursuing a lawsuit if they decide to accept the offer. In other cases, an employee simply might not know what constitutes wrongful termination, or that they can pursue a lawsuit at all.
Here are a few of the most common signs that you’ve been wrongfully terminated from your job:
- You faced discrimination or harassment for your sex/gender, age, race, or disability. It is illegal for employers to discriminate against you, for any of these reasons. If you were denied a promotion, harassed, or ultimately terminated simply for being who you are, you may have grounds to sue. In addition to the categories listed above, nationality, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, and religious beliefs are all considered protected categories in Connecticut.
- You experienced defamation and slander. Claims of defamation can often be difficult to prove, because it must be more than just water-cooler gossip around the office. However, if you were publicly, intentionally defamed by your employer and then fired, it may constitute wrongful termination.
- Your employer ignored a clear clause of your contract with them. Most employees are employed “at-will,” meaning that there is no formal contract, and either party can end the relationship at any time. For those who have contracts, however, a premature termination or other violation of your contract could entitle you to a wrongful termination suit.
- Your employer violated public policy. Employers cannot fire you for performing basic civic duties, like jury duty, military service, or voting. They also cannot fire someone who takes a leave of absence under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
- Your employer committed fraud. Fraud is illegal, and companies are required to act in good faith with their employees. Intentionally tricking you into resigning or quitting is fraud, and while it’s difficult to prove, it’s not impossible.
- Your employer retaliated against you. If you blow the whistle on illegal activity in your workplace, or file a health and safety complaint, your employer is forbidden to retaliate against you under the Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA). This also applies to sexual harassment and misconduct claims, and filing a claim with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission is a protected activity.
I’ve Been Illegally Fired. What Do I Do Next?
Do any of the scenarios above apply to you? Then you may very well have grounds for a wrongful termination suit under Connecticut state law, or under federal laws. This may seem easier said than done right now, however. Wrongful terminations can be emotionally taxing and stressful, and you may want to move on as quickly as possible.
Our Hartford employment lawyers here at Zayas Law Firm understand what you’re going through – and we also know that in many cases, the financial recovery from a successful case can significantly reduce your overall stress and worry. Additionally, when you’ve been illegally terminated from your job, you may lose access to crucial healthcare and treatments, or face severe financial hardship. Because we work on a no recovery, no fee basis, our attorneys can help you fight for compensation to cover these needs, all without adding any further financial burdens to your plate during this difficult time.
Contact us today for a free consultation if you’ve been wrongfully terminated in Connecticut, and see how we can help you fight back against an unfair firing.