Did you know that America is one of a handful of countries where employment is predominantly at will? Employment at will means that an employee can be terminated at any time. Under the At-will employment clause, under the US Labor Law, employees need to sign a contract with their employer, under which the employer can dismiss the employee without warning, but with a valid reason. The employer is also allowed to change the terms of the employment relationship without any notice or consequences. Such changes can include reduction in paid off-time, altered wages and termination of benefits.
At-will employment is highly unsafe for employees due to its utter lack of security in the job, since the employer has the right to dismiss employees for even arbitrary and capricious reasons, which leads to a large number of wrongful terminations, according to experts at The Law Offices of Jack Quentin Nichols, leading wrongful termination attorneys in Austin. However, in such contractual relationships, the employee also has the liberty to leave the job at any time and for any or no reason, for which they do not need to face any adverse legal consequences.
What is Wrongful Termination?
An employee is said to be wrongfully terminated if they were fired for reasons that are factually inaccurate. Although such termination is consistent with the employment “at-will” rule, the employer does not have the right to get rid of an employee for the wrong reasons. The reasons of termination should always be in accordance with the state or federal statutes or common law, including work-connected misconduct and other related factors, to prove the employer’s genuineness, says a leading wrongful termination lawyer in Austin and Houston, Texas (TX).
Let us understand in detail when an employee’s termination can be considered wrongful.
Signs an Employee has been Wrongfully Terminated
- They were discriminated against: If an employee is fired on the basis of their gender, race, sexual orientation, age being more than 40 years, national origin and disability, such termination falls in the category of being wrongful. The employee can sue the employer with discrimination under the anti-discrimination laws, where the employer needs to prove that the termination was solely related to business and not personal.
- They were fired while on FMLA: According to the FMLA or Family and Medical Leave Act, an employee is guaranteed up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave each year, with no threat of job loss. Employees exercise this right when they are unable to work due to a serious health condition or pregnancy. If the employee is terminated while on approved FMLA leave, they have been wrongfully terminated.
- They were retaliated against: Many employees face the consequences of doing something that is legally protected in the workplace, such as filing a harassment complaint or a complaint about a safety concern at the workplace. One of the adverse consequences employees face is that they can get fired.
- Terminated before promised time frame: While at-will contracts allow employers to terminate employees whenever they want to, they cannot fire employees before a certain amount of time when they’re to guaranteed work, if included in the contract. Such termination will be considered wrongful in all aspects, if the reasons for terminations aren’t good enough.
- The employer committed fraud: In many situations, an employee is made to resign or is fired because they were tricked with bad information, which was then used to sack the employee. Here, the employer is legally incorrect, since they acted against the employee on purpose.
Now that you know what is wrongful termination, look for signs of whether you or someone you know is a victim. Houston and Austin, Texas (TX) have some excellent wrongful termination attorneys who can help.