Wrongful Termination Smithtown
In Smithtown, “employment-at-will” laws mean that employers can terminate the employee at any time for any reason. Likewise, an employee may decide to quit for any reason – or for no reason at all – without warning. These laws mean that, in most cases, you do not have legal recourse if you have been discharged from your job, even if there didn’t seem to be any basis for the termination.
In certain cases, however, employment termination is an actionable offense. These scenarios include:
- You were terminated because of illegal discrimination
- Your termination was a form of employer retaliation
- You were discharged in an attempt to prevent you from collecting or obtaining deserved benefits
There are several other situations that could constitute wrongful termination. If you have reason to believe that you were discharged for an illegal reason or on the basis of discriminatory action on the part of your employer, it is crucial that you seek experienced counsel from one of our employment lawyers who is thoroughly familiar with this field of law. You could be entitled to monetary benefits.
Our wrongful terminations attorneys have represented numerous victims of wrongful termination and are prepared to put this experience to work for you. Get help from a firm that is solely dedicated to protecting the rights of workers, unlike other firms in the area.
Call 855-596-4657 today to set up an initial case consultation at the firm’s Smithtown location.
What Is a Wrongful Termination?
A wrongful termination is any firing that is illegal. A firing is illegal when it:
- Violates a federal, state, or local law, or
- Violates an employment contract.
Just because a termination is unfair doesn’t make it illegal. For example, it might be unfair for your boss to fire you so he can hire his inexperienced niece or nephew. However, because there’s no law against nepotism, you wouldn’t have a wrongful termination claim.
Violation of Federal, State, or Local Laws
The default rule in the United States is “at-will employment.” This means employers can fire employees at any time, for any reason. However, there is one important exception to this rule. Employers cannot fire at-will employees for illegal reasons. Federal, state, and local laws carve out a handful of reasons that are illegal. For example, it’s illegal to fire employees due to their race or gender.
Violation of Employment Contract
Employees no longer work at-will when they have an employment contract. We usually think of employment contracts as being written, but they can also be formed by words and actions. (See our article explaining how employers create employment contracts and alter at-will employment.) A contract employee cannot be fired if it would violate the terms of the contract. Typically, this means that employers cannot fire employees with having a good reason (called “cause”) before the term of the contract is up. Employers also can’t fire contract employees in violation of state, federal, or local laws.
How Do I File a Wrongful Termination Claim?
If your wrongful termination claim is based on discrimination or harassment, you will need to file an administrative complaint first (called a “charge”). You must typically file your charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)—or a state agency that enforces antidiscrimination laws—within 180 days of the discrimination or harassment. The EEOC or the state agency will investigate your complaint and decide whether to take action. Most of the time, the EEOC will simply issue a “right-to-sue” letter, which allows you to file your wrongful termination lawsuit in court.
The process of filing an EEOC charge is relatively simple. You can file your claim in person at one of the EEOC’s local field offices or you can file your claim by mail. To file by mail, send a letter to the EEOC with your contract information, your employer’s contact information, an explanation of how you were discriminated against or harassed, and when these events happened. You must also sign your letter.
While you don’t need a lawyer to file an administrative charge, it’s often helpful to do so, especially if you plan on filing a lawsuit down the road. Once you file your claim, the EEOC will speak to you, your employer, and any relevant witnesses. The information that the EEOC gathers can be used as evidence in your subsequent wrongful termination lawsuit. The EEOC may also try to facilitate a settlement negotiation between you and your employer. A wrongful termination lawyer will ensure that you’re receiving a fair offer and that you don’t give up any rights that you shouldn’t.
For most other types of wrongful terminations claims, you aren’t required to file a claim with an administrative agency first (although you may have the option). You can go straight to filing a lawsuit in court. For this, you will almost certainly need the assistance of an employment lawyer.
The Employment TribunalGetting fired is a devastating event even when we know it's justified. But when you are wrongfully or unfairly fired from a good paying job you love it is demoralizing. It can be difficult to even leave the house, let alone apply for a position elsewhere right away.Even great employees sometimes get terminated for hidden ulterior reasons. While there are many illegal reasons for termination, some of the more frequent include:· Whistleblowing,· Retaliation· Sustaining an injury at the workplace· Taking FMLA time· Discrimination of race, gender, religion, age, disability, etc.If you have been wrongfully terminated from your job, seek the advice and services of an experienced law professional, and make sure you receive the maximum allowable award under federal and state employment regulations.Continue reading for a brief review of the steps victims of wrongful termination cases should immediately follow.Steps to Follow Proving wrongful termination can be a long process, but there are some things you can do to help the process. Document everything you can about the dismissal: the time, the place, the specifics of the conversation, etc. You should also include any related information. Create a time-line of the succession of events that lead to your wrongful termination. Provide as many details and dates as possible. Review any employment document you may have signed upon hiring. Check it for accuracy in regards to your specific circumstances. This is an important step when the termination seems to come out of nowhere. You may be eligible for severance pay or other benefits. Review your employee handbook or guide for information about your rights as an employee. In many cases, employers include termination clauses entitling you to a period of notice of termination. File an official complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is the government agency that investigates allegations of labor law violations, including wrongful termination. Seek the services of an experienced law firm immediately. Hiring a lawyer is imperative when someone feels he or she has been the victim of an illegal dismissal. You need the expertise of a lawyer who works with labor law disputes to handle this type of case properly. These steps are not only vital; they need to be done in a timely manner. Besides the time limitations for filing a legal claim, the longer you wait to stand up for your own rights, the weaker the case generally looks to the judge or mediator.Other Considerations It is not uncommon for some of your co-workers to hesitate or to be unwilling to get actively involved in your wrongful termination suit. Many times your former coworkers feel intimidated and fearful of causing problems for themselves.Proving your termination is the direct result of an illegal condition isn't easy. These types of legal cases can be lengthy and time-consuming if a settlement is not negotiated. Because almost all employment is defined as at will, establishing your termination was due to something illegal, and not because of the superficial reason provided to you, is often difficult.Most employers are not required to provide a reason for dismissal. Oftentimes pretentious causes are attributed to your termination. Wading through all the legal issues can become overwhelming quickly.A lawyer who is experienced in labor laws can advise and assist you in making a strong wrongful termination suit. A private lawsuit is sometimes the only way to resolve employment disputes where the employer violates either company policy or state or federal laws.If you've lost your job for any of the reasons listed above, consider discussing your case with an experienced wrongful termination attorney today.
The Qualities Found in a Federal Employee Lawyer
Arizona employers and employees have an "at-will" relationship, which means that employers are free to terminate employees without notice or reason, and employees are free to quit at any time without notice or reason. Of course, the employment-at-will relationship is subject to both parties' obligation to meet other legal requirements, including contractual duties and compliance with various federal and state harassment and discrimination laws.
In order to reduce the amount of wrongful termination and related litigation, the Arizona legislature enacted the Arizona Employment Protection Act in 1996. The Act established certain guidelines designed to clarify what constituted, or did not constitute, wrongful termination under Arizona law. Prior to the enactment of the Arizona Employment Protection Act, employers faced numerous lawsuits based on alleged oral promises and implied obligations, with divergent results depending on the judge or jury. A number of those results had served to expand an employee's right to bring a lawsuit in a way that the legislature deemed unacceptable.
The Arizona Employment Protection Act contains at least four important provisions that all Arizona employers and employees should be aware of:
First, there is one-year statute of limitations for claims for breach of an employment contract or for wrongful termination. This means that such claims must be filed within one year of the termination date, significantly shortening the six-year contract limitations period that was previously applicable to some claims. Significantly, however, this limitations period does not apply to claims under the Arizona Civil Rights Act or pursuant to federal law stemming from illegal discrimination due to, among other things, race, sex, disability or age.
Second, there is an established presumption that employment relationships can be terminated at-will, and that presumption will carry the day unless there is an express written agreement stating otherwise. Typically, this will require a written contract signed by both parties, or an unequivocal guaranty described in an employee handbook or manual.
Third, the Arizona Employee Protection Act limits employees' wrongful termination claims to express breach of contract claims (described above), claims specifically allowed by Arizona statute, and "public policy" tort claims. Importantly, even these claims are limited to cases where a statute involved does not itself provide for a remedy. The tort claims involve circumstances where an employee is fired for refusing to violate the law, or blows the whistle on an employer they believe is breaking the law.
Finally, the Act expands sexual harassment claims so that certain such claims may be advanced even where federal sexual harassment laws might not apply.
At the end of the day, the Arizona Employment Protection Act creates a legal environment where it can be very difficult to successfully pursue a claim against an Arizona employer. Of course, every situation is different and the law is constantly changing, and if you believe your rights have been violated or you have been accused of wrongdoing you should speak with an experienced Arizona employment lawyer to determine what your rights and obligations are.