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Protecting Employee Rights: A Guide to Challenging Wrongful Termination

Home Business Magazine Online

Greetings, I’m Joseph George, a partner at George & George ADR Group. I hold certifications as a Florida Supreme Court County Mediator and a qualified arbitrator. With a background as a paralegal and HR professional, I also bring expertise as a certified EEO investigator. Over the years, I’ve built substantial experience collaborating with attorneys and various agencies on employment claims. In the forthcoming article, I will delve into the topic of wrongful termination, discussing cases, providing resources, and offering insights into the concept of wrongful termination along with guidance on appropriate courses of action.

Embarking on the journey to find a suitable company to work for to support our family and cover our expenses is no easy task. The pursuit of the ideal job within a company boasting a positive culture can be challenging. However, unforeseen hurdles can emerge, such as encountering a problematic manager or being caught off guard by the company’s excessive use of HR writeups and disciplinary actions to pressure you into resigning.

When you decide to take action against the company or manager for making your work environment hostile, reaching out to the HR department might result in a response indicating that you’re not a fit for the company, leading to a parting of ways. Note that reaching out to HR, preferably with a written complaint noting specific dates, times, individuals and a specific reference to the type of discrimination being alleged is REQUIRED. These words of shock hit like a heavy blow, leaving you astonished that after dedicating your utmost effort to the company, they would dismiss you for fulfilling your duties. This scenario, unfortunately, occurs more frequently than one might expect, even for experienced HR professionals and EEOC investigators. Employees often sacrifice personal life and family events for their commitment to a company, only to face unjust treatment from certain managers or owners who might feel threatened by their competence and decide to remove them from the team. Remember, your employer has rights too and they do have the right to know if one of their employees is behaving in an illegal way and be given an opportunity to correct the problem. If they correct it, they are safe from being sued.

I’ve witnessed countless instances of wrongful terminations and heard numerous stories of employees being let go unfairly. However, many employees are unaware that they have a legal standing against their employers or believe they can’t afford legal representation. It’s essential for employees to be aware that several attorneys work on a contingency basis, only requiring payment if they win the case, or offer free consultations. Additionally, legal aid organizations affiliated with state bar associations can offer assistance, and some attorneys engage in pro bono work to support employees in need.

From dealing with difficult bosses to contractual breaches, wrongful termination is more prevalent than commonly perceived. Instances where former employees sue their previous employers for wrongful termination often involve retaliation. This often occurs when an employee speaks out against workplace discrimination, harassment, or illegal activities and faces termination as a form of punishment. Any retaliation must be based on your rights under protected laws. Retaliation because of non-discrimination, FCRA, Title CVII, FMLA, work comp, or whistleblower claims is actually not illegal and this can be very confusing for employees. This is why a consultation with an attorney is absolutely necessary to determine if you have a case. Though you might think you have a case and you have been wronged, that’s not always true and can be quite frustrating.

Every day, numerous employees are dismissed in ways that contravene the law, often without realizing they have a legal claim against their employers until it’s too late. Determining whether a termination is lawful or not can be perplexing. Wrongful termination arises when an employee is fired in violation of the law, such as due to discriminatory motives in retaliation for reporting safety violations, or when it breaches the terms of an employment contract. Write to HR and follow your company’s procedures for reporting the discrimination. Most employers will do an investigation and find that there was no wrongdoing. This is obviously in their best interests to find you have no reason to sue them. They do this even when they know illegal activity occurred to dissuade employees from seeking attorneys and to avoid having to pay.

If an employee believes they’ve been wrongfully terminated, they can consult an attorney and possibly take legal action against their employer, seeking compensation for lost wages, benefits, and other damages. The process involved in pursuing a wrongful termination claim is intricate and may require demonstrating the employer’s intentions or establishing a legal violation.

Wrongful Termination in an At-Will State:

The concept of “at-will” employment is familiar to many, yet its legal implications often remain unclear. In simple terms, at-will employment signifies that both the employer and the employee have the freedom to terminate the employment relationship at any time and for any reason. The exception to this lies in the prohibition of termination by an employer for reasons that contravene the law. It’s worth noting that the term “wrongful termination” can be misleading, as letting go of an at-will employee for reasons that might seem unjust, unfair, or unverified isn’t necessarily against the law. Rather, wrongful termination legal matters revolve around whether the termination was prompted by unlawful factors, such as discrimination, retaliation, sexual harassment, a hostile work environment, or a violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

What does it mean to be in an “at-will” jurisdiction? In states that uphold “at-will employment,” employers possess the authority to dismiss employees without needing to provide a specific “just cause.” In other words, termination can occur for valid, invalid, or even arbitrary reasons, BUT NOT ILLEGAL REASONS.

However, even within at-will jurisdictions, employers are prohibited from firing employees for illegal motives. If your termination is based on unlawful grounds, you have the option to take legal action for wrongful termination. These processes take a long time. With the EEOC it can take 180 days minimum to get a right to sue. Once you go to court, it can take at least 18 months just to get to trial and the legal process is frustrating, time consuming, requires compliance with hundreds of procedures, and though you see it as a simple “I was terminated because I am …..” it is actually not so simple as the Defendant will deny everything and make you prove every fact in court and through discovery first. If you don’t prove it through discovery, you could be subject to a judge dismissing your case based on your employer’s motion for summary judgment and then you don’t even get to see a jury or trial. Attorneys can explain all of this to you.

Nevertheless, the at-will employment structure doesn’t grant employers unrestricted freedom to take any action whenever they please. It’s important to recognize that even in “at-will” states, employees have the right to challenge their employer’s actions under specific circumstances. This applies to Florida as well, where employees retain the ability to sue their employer for wrongful termination. Taking appropriate action is crucial if your rights have been violated, and assembling pertinent evidence plays a vital role in constructing a solid case against wrongful termination.

Depending on your unique situation, collecting relevant documentation can significantly strengthen your case. Some examples of documents that might prove useful include:

  • Employee handbooks and other employment policy records
  • Paystubs, work schedules, and employee performance evaluations
  • Pertinent correspondences like emails, memos, or letters
  • Text messages, videos, or any other documentation that pertains to your case

While most employment is considered “at will,” allowing employers to terminate employees for various reasons, there are crucial exceptions to this rule, along with legal avenues that can help one retain their job or take legal action against their former employer for wrongful termination.

Cases of Wrongful Termination:

Marija Stone v. GEICO General Insurance Company lawsuit was settled for $265,000.

EEOC v Hurricane Grill and Wings lawsuit was settled for $200,000.

Dennis Ratliff v Jacksonville University settled for $500,000.

EEOC v Baptist Health South Florida Inc. lawsuit was settled for $215,000.

EEOC v United Healthcare of Florida lawsuit was settled for $1.8 million.

Kevin Berling v. Gravity Diagnostics, LLC Commonwealth of Kentucky, Kenton Circuit Court Division IV, Case No19CI01631.

Jury Awards $450,000 For Employer’s Termination of Employee After Receiving Notice About Anxiety Disorder.

California Federal Jury Awards Former Walmart Pharmacist $27M In Wrongful Termination Suit.

Walmart pharmacist complains of illegal practices by Walmart in its pharmacy, claims she was retaliated against and fired.


Q Can my supervisor fire me if he simply does not like me?

A The viability of this situation hinges on the underlying reasons for your employer’s unfavorable stance. For your case of wrongful termination against your employer on these grounds, substantiating that their unfavorable sentiment was rooted in a protected characteristic, or a safeguarded activity is essential.

To illustrate, your claim could hold merit if you possess evidence demonstrating that your employer’s aversion towards you stemmed from factors like your race, sexual orientation, or gender. Furthermore, if your employer’s disapproval arose from your recent complaints regarding illegal wage and hour practices or instances of harassment (such as sexual harassment), your claim could also be valid. However, if the discord between you and your supervisor was primarily a result of personality clashes or differing approaches, that alone would not establish a foundation for pursuing a wrongful termination allegation.

Q What is constructive discharge?

A A situation of constructive discharge, also known as constructive termination, arises when an employer fosters a hostile work environment that leads to working conditions becoming so unbearable that an employee is compelled to resign. The legal framework of constructive discharge employs an objective criterion in assessing these working conditions. This entails the employee demonstrating that a rational person in the same role would have deemed the work environment unendurable and would have had no alternative but to resign.

Q How soon after I’ve been fired should I consult or hire an employment attorney?

A Time is of the essence in this matter, as statutes of limitations diverge from state to state, and EEOC claims also adhere to specific timeframes for filing. Wrongful termination claims are subject to varying statutes of limitations, which can sometimes be shorter than six months. Delaying the consultation with an attorney may lead to a total restriction on your ability to seek redress for your wrongful termination, potentially depriving you of the rightful compensation you are entitled to. It’s imperative to act promptly to safeguard your legal rights and pursue the compensation you rightfully deserve.

Termination for Exercising Your Legal Rights Resources:

If your employer fired you because you exercised rights under a state labor law, report your termination to your state’s labor department.

If your employer fired you because you exercised rights related to leave, wages, or overtime, complain to the Department of Labor.

You can also reach out directly to their Wage and Hour Division’s local office.

Before you sue your employer for discrimination, you must file a report with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Seek legal counsel if your employer wrongfully fired you for a reason not under state or federal law.

Need Legal Counsel? Here Are Some of the Best Employment Attorneys My Firm Works With:

Tully Rinckey PLLC 

Richard Celler Legal, P.A., a/k/a the Florida Overtime Lawyer 

Daniel H. Hunt, Esq. 


DISCLAIMER: Material presented in this article and on this website is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended as professional advice and should not be construed as such. Transmission of the information and material herein is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship with George & George ADR Group or any member thereof.

The post Protecting Employee Rights: A Guide to Challenging Wrongful Termination appeared first on Home Business Magazine.

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  1. Госкоминвест Таджикистана подписал соглашение с южнокорейской Ассоциацией KOSHUMA, предполагающее инвестирование в сферу промышленности, энергетики и информационно-коммуникационных технологий.
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    Больше инормации на различные темы можно из статьи

    Жизнь после удаления яичников.
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    Практика йоги и медитаций открывает путь к новым открытиям на дороге самопознания. В первую очередь эти занятия позволяют повысить ваш духовный уровень, так как изначально это были исключительно практики духовного постижения мира. С наступлением эры современности понимание этих дисциплин несколько видоизменилось, и на передний план вышел физический аспект, укрепление не только духа, но и тела.

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