People depend on their jobs. It’s an inevitable fact. It takes up an overwhelming amount of their time each week, provides food on the table and allows them to save for retirement.
The shock of losing a job is disconcerting for several reasons. What is even more troubling is if you feel like you got fired under questionable circumstances. How can you prove that your employer fired you illegally?
Indiana, like other states in the country, has laws that protect workers from their employers. Whether you were fired illegally or believe that the employer acted out of retaliation or discrimination, you deserve someone willing to stand up for you.
Common Reasons for Illegal Job Terminations
No one wants to get called into the office of the boss to learn he/she is being terminated. While many job terminations are valid and for a justifiable cause, there are also plenty of questionable ones.
Every year 150,000 workers are wrongfully terminated in the country. Here are some of the most common reasons people get wrongfully fired from their job:
- The employer violated written or implied promises. Several jobs have a specified length of time during which you can’t get fired. Violating an implied or written promise in a contract is an illegal termination.
- You were a victim of discrimination. You are not allowed to be discriminated at work because of your race, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability and/or national origin.
- There was a breach of good faith and fair dealing. An example is an employee that gets terminated because the company wouldn’t have to pay a sales commission.
- The employer violated public policy. An employer cannot fire you for taking time off to vote, for jury duty or service in the military.
- The employer retaliated against you. An employer cannot fire you for being a whistleblower. The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) protects individuals who report health or safety concerns.
- The employer committed fraud. A company cannot fire you for tricking you into using bad information and then forcing a resignation after the fact.
- The employee was defamed. If your reputation or good standing in the workplace is jeopardized because of defamation, you can claim a wrongful termination lawsuit.
Keep in mind that the laws regarding wrongful termination vary from state to state. Federal laws are also in place to protect workers’ rights.
Wrongful Termination Laws
Fortunately, some laws were created in the United States to protect workers from getting fired from their job illegally. Some of the most common federal laws that may help you receive a favorable outcome in a wrongful termination lawsuit include:
- Civil Rights Act of 1964: The landmark legislation prohibits discrimination at work based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. It includes protection both during the hiring process and after you get hired.
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967: The act prohibits age discrimination of people between the ages of 40-65. It protects seniors who may be forced to resign before they would like to stop working.
- Civil Service Reform Act of 1978: The legislation prohibits discrimination by federal employers based on race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, marital status, political affiliation and sexual orientation.
- Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990: The legislation makes it illegal to discriminate against qualified individuals that have disabilities.
How to Protect Your Job From an Illegal Firing
Most jobs in the United States are “at-will” which means the employer may terminate an employee at almost any time for almost any reason. Most jobs not under a union contract are considered “at-will” which does produce some complications for a former employee.
However, there are still ways that people get fired which are considered illegal, like retaliation or discrimination. Those that suspect or know they have been terminated because of illegal reasons should contact an experienced lawyer.
Regardless, if you seek to get your job back or want fair compensation in a settlement, pushing back against illegal firings is your best defense. Your integrity is on the line as well as your future.
Even if the actions of the termination are not considered illegal, former employees may still go after employers for acting unfairly and unethically. If you have been fired unexpectedly, laid off, forced to retire, or otherwise compelled to resign, contact a knowledgeable lawyer for an initial consultation.
Prepare Your Defense
In the state of Indiana, wrongful termination claims may get filed in one of two ways:
(1) Through a government agency that enforces labor laws.
(2) Through a private lawsuit.
While you prepare to speak to an lawyer, you can take a few steps to prepare for a potential lawsuit.
First, collect your employment records. You have the right to contact your former employer and request documentation, including official matters related to your termination. You can also collect reports, reviews and records from your personal file that summarize your history with the company.
Secondly, make notes while the circumstances involving the wrongful termination are fresh in your memory. Be sure to record dates, names and locations of people that were involved in the situation. It is important to document events like performance reviews, salary increases (or decreases), reprimands or commendations.
Finally, speak with a lawyer. Our qualified lawyers personally examine the details of your case, and you don’t owe us a penny until a settlement is reached. We can help you receive back pay, punitive damages, compensatory damages or job reinstatement.
Contact us today at (800) 33-33-LAW or visit GetStewart.com.