Wrongful termination cases are a major problem in today’s work environment. If you have been wrongfully terminated or had your employment contract violated in any way, then you may be able to file a lawsuit against your employer. Wrongful termination is when an employer fires an employee for reasons that are illegal such as discrimination (based on race, sex, age, and more), retaliation (when the employee reports wrongdoing by the employer), and hostile workplace (where sexual harassment or other types of abuse take place).
To find out more about what the laws say and the steps you should be taking we recommend consulting a lawyer or talking to someone who has experience with this type of case.
What Compensation to Expect
If you’ve been fired – or even if you haven’t, but believe that it’s illegal for you to be terminated – then the first thing that comes to mind is how much money you’re going to get in compensation. The average payout for wrongful termination cases depends on the case as well as the state. For example, in Tennessee, many fall in the range of $5,000 to $80,000, though some payouts can reach into the millions.
Wrongful termination cases are much more commonly settled out of court, where compensation might include reinstatement at your job or settlement payment. But if your reasons for suing are that you were fired due to discrimination or harassment, then you can get a significant amount of money even if you don’t win the case. Courts can order employers to pay out thousands in legal fees and back pay, depending on the method used to determine the amount owed.
Getting Familiar with Your Rights
The truth is that employers know about their rights to terminate employees much better than previous generations did and they’re not likely to make egregious mistakes when it comes to firings.
It can be hard to tell if you’re in a position to take action against your employer when it comes to wrongful termination, but some common indicators point in that direction. You’ll know you have a case if one or any of these situations apply:
- Your boss refuses to let you take time off work even when it would make sense – like in the case of family emergencies or serious illnesses.
- The company promises promotions and/or raises which never materialize despite working well.
- The company regularly makes changes without notifying employees first.
- You feel like people are being treated unfairly at work – whether or not management doesn’t see it or is ignoring it.
- Your company reduces your responsibilities without reasonable justification.
Taking Action Against Employers
To succeed in a wrongful termination case, you must prove that you were fired for reasons that are illegal – such as discrimination or retaliation. You should also be able to show that the employer was aware of these actions and did nothing to stop them from happening.
In most cases, employees who feel they’ve been wrongfully terminated should bring up the issue with their superior first and then with a manager if necessary before contacting a lawyer or taking any other action.
Once you decide to move forward with legal action, your lawyer can file a charge of discrimination or retaliation with the EEOC. The EEOC will send the employer a “right-to-sue” letter if they find that you have no case, while also allowing employees to take further action in court.
Lawyers can generally pursue any type of employment law claim, such as protection from workplace discrimination or retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – payment of unpaid wages, failure to provide meal breaks, and wrongful termination. They may also advise on how to proceed in cases relating to sexual harassment in the workplace, breach of contract, and other common types of job issues.
In some cases, employees may want to file both charges against an employer with their state or federal governments as well as through private legal action. The important thing is that you document everything thoroughly for future reference whenever you believe your rights have been violated at work.
Therefore, hiring a lawyer who has experience dealing with wrongful termination lawsuits to represent you in court if facing these issues becomes necessary is the best idea. Most employees are worried about the consequences of taking legal action, but it’s important to keep in mind that most companies don’t want any negative attention. If you find yourself let go for reasons that seem unfair or even illegal, then it’s best to look into your options and meet with a lawyer if necessary. As long as certain criteria are met, wrongful termination lawsuits are usually successful for employees who feel they’ve been dismissed unfairly by their company bosses.