Wrongful Termination Utica
In Utica, “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 Utica 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.
When you lose your job, regardless of whether you were fired or laid off, it's always hard to understand your employer's reason behind it. After doing some soul searching what if you realize you were let go for an unlawful reason? If this is the case of you, then you have the right to bring a wrongful termination claim against your former employer. What does this mean? You can get money damages, severance packages and other compensation. Follow this guide from a civil rights attorney to see if you lost your job due to a wrongful termination and what you can do about it.What is the definition of "Wrongful Termination?"If you have been let go or fired from your job for an illegal reason then you have been wrongfully terminated. Some of the illegal reasons for losing your job may include: Firing you based on your race, gender, sexual orientation and other discriminatory reasons.Firing you because you refused sexual advances and other sexual harassment reasons.Firing you despite previous oral and written employment agreements.Firing in retaliation for any complaints you have made against the employer.If any of these apply to you, then you might be entitled to a money payment based on your lost wages and other expenses you accrued from being terminated. Also depending on the case, you might be entitled to get payments from your employer and also from the person who fired you.What To Do If You've Been FiredIgnore any ill feelings you have towards your employer. Don't do something that you might regret and hinder your case.Contact a civil rights attorney for advice and representation.Find your contract and go over it thoroughly. Make sure you understand all the fine print.Get a letter in writing from your employer about why you were terminated. And ask who was the person that decided that you were to be fired.Think of any promises the employer made to you and see if they followed through on any of them.Make sure you return any company property.Do not allow yourself to be intimidated. A good civil rights attorney will be there for you every step of the way helping you build you case.Request A Severance Package Technically, an employer doesn't have to give a fired or laid off employee a severance package if their contract does not stipulate it. However, if the employee feels they have been wrongfully terminated, they can negotiate a severance package with the company in exchange for not filing charges against the employer.An employment attorney can explain your options and help your decide whether negotiation a severance package or a wrongful termination claim will make more sense in your situation.If you feel that have been fired for an illegal reason, you may have rights to severance pay, damages, or unemployment compensation. Speaking with an experience civil rights attorney can help you understand your rights and make an informed decision about how to proceed.
Wrongful termination can be a devastating experience that not only affects your career in the short term but can also affect your ability to get back on your feet and find a new job.Firstly, your specific job and the employment contract that you signed and the local employment laws that govern where you live may largely determine whether or not you are a victim of wrongful termination.For example, if you signed a confidentiality agreement and there is verifiable proof that you violated this aspect of your agreement, this would most likely be a legitimate example of being fired for cause ie. the company had the right to fire you.Another example would be if you were caught stealing from your employer.But what if the circumstances regarding your termination aren't as clear?Often when an employee is fired, it might be on the basis of a perceived problem or disagreement of opinion such as your inability to do the job. Here are some other typical reasons that people get fired where a case of wrongful termination may exist: A personal conflict with your boss and/or colleagues that results in you getting fired. A breach of contract where you are improperly fired for violating part of your contract. A downsizing where you are told that your job is being eliminated only to find out that your employer then hires someone to replace you in the exact same position. Being fired or forced to quit so that your boss can hire a friend to replace you. Sexual harassment ie. you are sexually harassed and when you rebuff the advances or report them, you are fired. Discrimination based on sex, race, age, religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, etc. You report a wrongdoing in the company and are fired ie. you are a whistleblower. These are just some of the reasons where a case of wrongful termination might exist. Certainly your specific situation and the employment laws that govern your area of employment may take precedence.How Can You Minimize The Chances Of Wrongful Termination?Wherever possible, always document your work and keep hard copies of any emails or other written documentation that positively comments on your work. For example, if you receive a positive employment review from your boss, bring a copy of it home and keep it on file.If you receive written praise from peers regarding a project you worked on, keep a copy of it at home.I'm not suggesting you remove work-related material and take it home with you if it violates your employment contract or if it's the property of the company but keeping a copy of personal materials that you should be entitled to such as a performance review is legitimate especially if your manager gives you a copy to keep.If you are unsure, ask your manager if you can keep a copy of your performance review at the time it is given to you. In this case, I suggest taking a copy home with you because in the case of a firing or downsizing, you might not be allowed to take anything out of the office or to access your computer.As a recruiter, I've seen job searchers use recent performance reviews from their current employer to highlight certain skills or accomplishments they are proud of.Having written documentation that positively highlights your work track record can come in handy down the line if you need to illustrate your past performance especially if comments being made about you by an ex-employer contradict positive comments that were written about you earlier on.If you feel that you are a victim of wrongful termination, the first thing you should consider is getting legal advice to properly understand your situation from a legal perspective and whether or not you have a legitimate case.