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Employment Law 101: What Makes a Wrongful Termination Case

— November 21, 2022

An employee who has raised concerns about workplace safety, violations of company policy, or disclosed unlawful or unethical behavior as a whistleblower is protected from dismissal.

In terms of employment law, the vast majority of states are classified as ‘at-will employment states.’ This implies that the employee or the company can terminate the employment relationship. Nonetheless, there are several circumstances in which an employer’s termination of an employment agreement may be considered ‘wrongful termination,’ even if the state maintains an ‘at-will’ employment provision. It is deemed wrongful termination when a worker is terminated in violation of local, state, or federal laws.

It’s reasonable to assume that a former employee claiming an unfair termination will aggressively seek employment after being laid off. According to state and federal law, the terminated employee is required to take steps to mitigate the harm caused by their dismissal. Unless the employee is disabled or unable to work in any capacity, he must actively seek alternative employment. This article outlines the fundamentals of this law and, in particular, wrongful termination in North Carolina.

When Does Termination Count As Wrongful?

In the state of North Carolina, wrongful termination can occur under various circumstances, including when an employee is terminated due to discriminatory reasons, when an employer violates public policy in terminating the employee, or when an employer fails to follow its termination policies and procedures.

Another reason that can lead to your dismissal is if you report illegal activities or a lack of safety in the workplace. If you need to engage the services of wrongful termination attorneys in this situation, it is in your best interest to get in touch with a reliable one as soon as possible. To further understand the legal implications of this legislation, here’s a list of other circumstances that fall under wrongful termination.

  1. Discrimination.

Employment ‘at will’ means that either the employer or the employee can sever ties at any time and for any cause. However, it is against federal and state law to fire employees because of their nationality, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, or physical or mental handicap. If a worker is fired because of discrimination, they are entitled to the following rights:

Hiring an experienced wrongful termination attorney is crucial to preserve your legal rights in a discrimination-based wrongful termination complaint. Moreover, it’s worth noting that proving discrimination can be difficult, especially when it comes down to an employee’s word against an employer’s story.

  1. Prevalent Sexual Harassment And A Disruptive Workplace 

Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it’s prohibited to harass someone because of their sexual orientation. You may be entitled to monetary compensation, reinstatement to your former position, and potentially punitive penalties and reimbursement of legal costs.

It’s been shown that sexual harassment is pervasive and deeply rooted in the culture of some companies, creating an unsafe and unwelcoming workplace where employees struggle to focus on their work and accomplish their tasks. When workplace harassment becomes intolerable, employees may be forced to resign. Always keep in mind that you have the right to file a wrongful termination case if you were sexually harassed on the job and believe you were dismissed as punishment for complaining about it or if you had to quit because you couldn’t tolerate it anymore.

  1. Acts Of Retaliation Against Employees Who Exercise Their Rights

    Whistleblower Lawsuit Seeks to Expose Texas AG's Retaliation
    Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

Federal law prohibits retaliation by employers against employees who exercises their legal rights, such as whistle-blowing or reporting a possible legal infraction to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or another authority.

Suppose an employee is fired for reasons other than just cause, and the company decides to overlook this fact and fire the individual in retaliation for reporting any violations. In that case, the employee may sue for wrongful termination to collect damages from the dismissal.

The Final Note

Getting fired from a job can feel unjust, especially if there is no justification. However, the legal definition of ‘wrongful termination’ is restrictive. It may indicate that the company has broken the law by firing an employee in violation of federal anti-discrimination statutes or a contract. Terminating an employee due to membership in a constitutionally protected class (such as gender, race, disability, ethnicity, religion, etc.) is unlawful.

Since these forms of retaliation are illegal, they may constitute grounds for a wrongful termination suit. However, proving a wrongful termination claim without legal representation is challenging. For that reason, engaging the services of a reputable and trustworthy employment attorney to assist you must be your priority.

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