Wrongful Termination Columbus
In Columbus, “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 Columbus 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.
At Last, Employment Law Legislation That Helps Business OwnersHas your employment been terminated? Do you think it was a wrongful termination? Knowing the employment law is vital to understand your legal rights. Florida is one of a number of states where individuals work at-will. This means that an employer can fire someone at anytime, for any reason, or for no reason at all. Seeking the advice of a Florida employment attorney can be beneficial in getting a valid claim initiated as each step of a case has specific timelines in which actions must be accomplished.Florida has no law dedicated to wrongful termination, but there are state and federal labor laws that do protect employees from a wrongful dismissal based on certain criteria and circumstances. But laws can be changed, modified, or added at any time by the government and the Florida judicial system. A knowledgeable and experienced wrongful termination lawyer can explain all of your legal rights and what is needed to present your case for a favorable resolution.FEDERAL EMPLOYMENT LAWS The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 prohibit discrimination based on an employee's race, color, age, religion, sex, and national origin.The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits discrimination based on an employee's disability or against someone who is believed to have a disability.The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 has been amended overtime and today includes prohibited discrimination against an employee based on marital status, citizenship status, and pregnancy.The FLSA guarantees employees certain workplace rights that employers cannot violate. Two examples of employees' rights are: the ability to assemble to form a union and to be paid an overtime rate for hourly employees working more than 40 per week. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against or dismiss employees for asserting their rights as allowed by law or statue.FLORIDA EMPLOYMENT LAWSIn addition to discriminatory classes prohibited by Federal laws, Florida law makes it illegal to discriminate or dismiss someone based on having AIDS/HIV or sickle cell trait.Florida law enforces all Federal law and prohibits discriminatory employment actions if an employer has at least 15 employees. In Florida, an employee must be at least 40 for an allegation of age discrimination and there must be at least 20 individuals employed. An employer only has to have four employees for a wrongful termination based on citizenship status.Employees with employment contracts may not be at-will employees. If the contract specified in writing that they will not be fired during a certain period of time and then were fired during this timeframe, it may be a breach of contract claim.Florida allows terminated employees to file a lawsuit for fraud, emotional distress, injuries and violation of public and federal policies. These types of cases are called Tort and become personal injury cases. ADDITIONAL LABOR LAWSBoth Federal and Florida employment law makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate against personnel who exercise their rights to be absent from the workplace due to mandatory active duty military leave, jury duty, and to care for serous medical situations involving themselves or family members, as defined by the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993.Anyone who decides to file a claim for wrongful termination must file with a government agency before pursuing a personal lawsuit. On a Federal level, a claim can be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and in Florida, it would be the Florida Commission on Human Relations.If you believe that you were wrongfully dismissed; today would be the best time to talk with a wrongful termination lawyer.
Was I Wrongfully Terminated?
It seems that most employment law legislation is designed to make life harder for the employer and easier for every member of staff. From maternity laws to unfair dismissal, most laws seem weighted against the employer.
That was certainly the case when the statutory grievance and disciplinary procedures came into force in 2004. They made it simple for an employee to make a claim for unfair dismissal. If an employer made even one mistake in following a grievance or disciplinary procedure, evidence of the mistake was enough to allow the employee to make a claim for unfair dismissal, even if the reasons for dismissal were genuine. This led to many claims for compensation being paid out when, had the correct procedure been followed, this might not have been the case. For small employers this burden and the costs of the compensation claims were often too much to bear.
Sense has now finally prevailed, after much stress caused to employers, solicitors and Employment Law Tribunals, and the Employment Act 2008 finally obtained Royal Assent recently. This will come into force on 6th April 2009 and will redress the balance in these situations so that all the weight does not fall onto the shoulders of the employer.
When the Employment Act 2008 comes into force the previous statutory grievance and disciplinary procedures will be repealed. The Employment Law Tribunal will now examine the facts of the case to see whether the employee followed the ACAS Code of Practice in a grievance or disciplinary procedure. Failure to follow the procedure now will not lead to an automatic unfair dismissal but to an increase in the amount of any compensation awarded of up to 25%. However, the employee will now be able to argue that even if they had followed the procedure, the employee would still have been dismissed. If they are successful, the amount of any award can be reduced by as much as 100%.
This will make a significant difference to employers and could save hundreds of thousands of pounds of compensation for employers that cannot afford it, especially when technically they have done nothing wrong.