The largest employers in Jackson County, Missouri, are the government and healthcare sectors, followed by the manufacturing, education, engineering, and banking industries. Regardless of your industry or employer, being fired illegally can negatively affect your life and cause devastating personal loss. If your situation involves an illegal reason for your dismissal, such as any of the examples we give below, you may need the help of unlawful termination lawyers.

7 Illegal Reasons for Getting Fired That Could Mean You Have an Unlawful Termination Case

1. You Were Discriminated Against

Federal law and the Missouri Human Rights Act protect against employment discrimination that includes employers discriminating, including firing employees, because of ancestry, color, natural origin, race, religion, gender or sex, disability, and age (40-69 years). Female employees cannot be fired for being pregnant as they have a legal right to have children. Moreover, employers have a legal obligation to accommodate pregnant women.

The Difference Between Discrimination and Harassment

To better understand whether you got fired due to discrimination or harassment, it is crucial to look at the difference between them. The main difference between harassment and discrimination is that harassment is focused on the illegal mistreatment of one employee, whereas discrimination refers to a group of people.

For example, if all female workers in a company are sexually harassed or treated differently than the male employees, that is gender or sex discrimination. If a single manager focuses unwanted sexual attention on just one female employee, that is harassment.

2. You Were Sexually Harassed

Sexual harassment is unwanted behavior of a sexual nature toward a target based on his or her gender. It may be in the form of sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, physical touching, or verbal or written sexual comments. Making employment decisions on the rejection or acceptance of sexual harassment is unlawful, as is the unwanted behavior itself.

Firing and Sexual Harassment – Keep Records for Unlawful Termination Lawyers

If you were sexually harassed at work and were fired because of it, such as by refusing to accept this illegal treatment or by reporting it, it is in your best interests to keep a record of this unwanted behavior and contact unlawful dismissal attorneys to help you examine your case. Also, keep records of your company’s harassment policies and your communication with human resources about this wrongful conduct.

3. You Were Fired Due to Family or Medical Leave

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a law that allows workers unpaid leave of up to 12 weeks each year for childbirth or adoption and bonding with the new child. The company must have a minimum of 50 employees, and you must have worked there for one year with a minimum of 1,250 hours to qualify. If you were fired because you took this leave, your firing was likely illegal, and unlawful termination lawyers can assist you in assessing your case.

Types of Medical Leave Protected Under the FMLA

The Act also applies to eligible businesses and their employees who require time off to recover from a severe health condition or injury or to care for a family member who experienced a severe medical setback. In situations involving active military personnel, a one-time leave of up to 26 weeks may be legally permitted under the FMLA. Companies cannot legally fire workers for taking eligible leave covered under the FMLA.

4. You Filed for Workers’ Compensation

You could have a valid unlawful termination case if you were fired for either filing for Workers’ Compensation for an injury on-the-job or testifying before the Workers’ Compensation board. You could be entitled to compensation for expenses such as your hospital bills. Getting workers’ compensation after you were fired can be more challenging, especially if a lot of time passes, as it may be argued that your injuries did not occur in the workplace.

Workers’ Compensation and Light Duty – Light Duty Is the Law in Jackson County, Missouri

The employer accused of firing an employee for filing for Workers’ Compensation must prove that was not the reason but that misconduct was the reason the worker was fired. Keeping detailed records of your work details and communication about your Workers’ Compensation claim is a good idea. By law, Missouri companies are supposed to transfer injured workers to light-duty work and not demote or fire them.

5. You Reported Your Employer for Any Violation

Federal laws are explicit that an employee cannot be fired because he or she reported the employer for any wrongdoing. Unlawful termination attorneys fight for the rights of workers fired for reporting a violation in the workplace. These whistleblowers must be protected whether they report a violation of employment standards, workplace safety, consumer protection, shareholder fraud, environmental breach, or other infractions.

Being Fired for Refusing To Commit a Workplace Violation

Your wrongful termination claim may also be valid if you are fired for refusing to “go along” with the company in committing any violation. Missouri is an at-will employment state, meaning employers can terminate employees without giving a reason. Yet, this does not mean they can illegally fire their workers, and you cannot legally be expected to keep your job only if you commit a violation with the company.

6. You Supported a Co-Worker’s Discrimination Claim

Jackson County, Missouri, is covered by federal employment laws and state labor laws. The Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations protects workers from being fired or demoted for opposing discrimination or participating in an investigation into discriminatory practices. This law applies to your claim or in supporting a colleague’s discrimination claim, so if you’ve noticed a co-worker being discriminated against, you can help him or her.

Employer Retaliation for Discrimination Support

Employers are legally prohibited from punishing a worker for either making a discrimination claim or supporting another employee making a claim. Retaliation is the legal term for this unlawful employer punishment in response to an employee exercising his or her rights to make or support a claim. Wrongful firing is one form of this illegal retaliation, and others may include demotion, pay cuts, or a change to less desirable work tasks.

7. You Supported a Co-Workers Sexual Harassment Claim

If you have noticed evidence of a colleague being sexually harassed, federal and state laws protect your right to support your co-worker’s harassment claim without risk of losing your job. People often feel more comfortable supporting a co-worker’s sexual harassment claim after a meeting with wrongful dismissal lawyers who can advise them of their employment protection under the law, or, if they already were fired, fight for fair compensation for their illegal job loss.

Employer Retaliation for Sexual Harassment Support

Just as employer retaliation is illegal if you support a co-worker’s discrimination claim, it is also illegal for a sexual harassment claim. It is still common for colleagues to be reluctant to assist in another employee’s sexual harassment claim, but the law firmly protects workers’ rights to do this. If you have been fired for helping a co-worker in a sexual harassment claim, speaking with illegal termination lawyers can inform you of what actions are best for you to take.

If you were illegally fired, contact Holman Schiavone, LLC. Schedule a free consultation with our skilled, experienced, and caring unlawful termination attorneys in Jackson County, MO, to discuss the viability of your case. We are dedicated to protecting and preserving the rights of individuals in Missouri and work tirelessly to fight for the maximum compensation possible for our clients.