Have you been fired from your job recently? Do you think it may have been illegal? This wrongful termination checklist will help you to determine if you have a valid claim — and let you know what to do next. If your employer fired you in violation of state, local, and/or federal laws, public policy, or the terms of an employment contract, they need to be held accountable for their actions.
Do you have a valid wrongful termination case?
Here are 8 examples of wrongful termination to determine if you have a valid claim:
A hostile work environment that tolerates sexual harassment
Workers’ compensation claim retaliation
Wage & hour disputes or unpaid overtime
Pregnancy, religious, or disability discrimination
Sexual harassment is wrong, and it should never be tolerated. If you have been sexually harassed at work and believe that it could be the reason for your firing, you should consult an employee rights attorney as soon as possible.
Sexual harassment is covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and it is not only wrong — it is illegal. If you have a valid claim, you may be able to receive back pay from the date of termination to the settlement or verdict, reinstatement to your job (including all pay and benefits) of front pay instead of reinstatement, and potentially receive additional compensatory damages as well.
All employees should be treated equally and be able to perform their job without harassment or discrimination. Have you witnessed actions or heard comments from an immediate supervisor or boss that would demonstrate a bias against a specific group? If you feel you were wrongfully terminated due to your race (or you object to discrimination against someone else in the workplace based on their race), you may be able to file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) as a first step to vindicating your rights.
An employee rights attorney can perform a thorough investigation and in-depth look at the facts and then assist you with the filing of the charge with the EEOC. Again, that filing is the first step of many in a complex litigation process. When seeking legal representation, it is critical to seek counsel as soon as possible and then to work with an attorney that has expertise with discrimination cases.
Another common example of wrongful termination is retaliation after an employee has filed a workers’ compensation claim or because an employee might file a valid claim. If you have been hurt on the job and were fired after attempting to apply for or actually receiving benefits, because you made that claim for benefits, you may have a claim against your employer.
Florida Labor Code 440.205 states:
“No employer shall discharge, threaten to discharge, intimidate or coerce any employee by reason of such employee’s valid claim for compensation or attempt to claim compensation under the workers’ compensation law.”
Have you seen younger workers treated differently when it comes to disciplinary actions? Were they lightly admonished or not admonished at all — and you were fired for the same thing? You may be the victim of age discrimination.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects people 40 years of age and older from age-based discrimination. This includes all aspects of the employment process including interviewing, payroll, benefits, promotions, layoffs, and firing. Older workers have legal rights in the workplace and have the right to hold their employers accountable for their discriminatory actions.
The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides for protected leave from work if you meet eligibility requirements and work for a covered employer. Your right to return to your job (and be free from retaliation for taking leave) is as important as the right to take the leave to which you may be entitled. There are certain processes and qualifications to request leave and to return from leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, but as long as you followed the steps required under the Act, the policies of your employer, and were approved to go on leave, you have significant protections and a righto return to your job.
This type of wrongful termination is not uncommon. If you were fired after you had a baby or were taking care of a loved one and were covered under the FMLA, consult an employee rights attorney as soon as possible. There are statutes of limitations with this type of claim, as well as other types of wrongful termination cases.
Were you trying to fight for unpaid wages, commissions, or overtime and got fired? Wage and hour disputes can be quite complex but know that you have legal protections as an employee and should be able to receive what is lawfully due to you without retaliation.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) covers comprehensive issues surrounding wage and hour disputes including those listed in the above paragraph. Any documentation that you have including pay stubs, employment contracts, schedules, and company policies, etc., should be kept to help you prove a claim. The more information you have, the better.
Were you concerned about safety in the workplace and reported OSHA violations — and were then fired? This is one of the prime examples of wrongful termination when it comes to whistleblower retaliation. Were you warned by a supervisor or manager against participating in an investigation into potentially illegal behavior? Know you have legal rights.
Florida’s Private Whistle-blower’s Act provides that it is unlawful for employers to terminate employees for uncovering, objecting to, or reporting violations of state and federal law, rules or regulations. If you have been the victim of an adverse action for reporting illegal activity or refusing to participate in discriminatory conduct — you have the right to recover damages.
Unfortunately, there are many different types of discrimination that occur in the workplace. If you feel you have been subjected to a wrongful termination due to your pregnancy, religion, or disability, know that employee rights attorneys work hard each day to fight against discrimination and help others just like you through a stressful and difficult time.
Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A. serves and secures justice for employees who have been wronged by employers. We have helped thousands of others just like you and it is important to know that you are not alone. Our diverse attorneys aggressively advocate for your rights. Contact us today to schedule a free confidential appointment. We help employees across Tampa, Orlando, Miami, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, and Jacksonville.
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