Being fired from your job can leave you feeling shocked, anxious, sad, and angry — especially if you suspect you were wrongfully terminated. Psychiatrists rank job termination among the top ten most stressful life events on the Life Change Index Scale, as job loss can have a devastating impact on a person’s financial well-being and mental health.
If you feel you were unjustly fired, the skilled wrongful termination lawyers at Holman Schiavone can provide the legal guidance you need. After understanding the circumstances behind your firing, we have the knowledge and resources to pursue a claim on your behalf if you were wrongly terminated. We will then work tirelessly to help you recover any lost wages and benefits that you deserve.
What exactly is wrongful termination?
Also known as “wrongful discharge” or “unlawful termination”, wrongful termination refers to an employee’s discharge that occurs due to discrimination, retaliation, or a breach of contract. Wrongful termination can be difficult to prove, particularly if you don’t have a strong working knowledge of employment law. An experienced employment attorney can help you determine whether you were wrongfully terminated and outline a course of action.
What are some common reasons why employees are wrongfully terminated?
No two wrongful termination cases are exactly alike, as employers may decide to discharge employees for a variety of reasons. But many wrongful termination cases are rooted in discrimination or occur because an employee exposed an employer’s unethical behavior or policy violations. Here are some of the most common reasons why employees are unjustly fired:
1) Refusing sexual advances by a boss or superior
If a manager makes sexual advances toward an employee who rejects them, the manager may fire the employee out of anger, frustration, or fear that the employee will expose their behavior. Even if the employee did not report the manager’s behavior to human resources director, there still could be grounds for a wrongful termination suit.
2) Discriminatory behavior
The Missouri Human Rights Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of their age, color, race, ancestry, sex, or disability. Despite Missouri’s stringent anti-discrimination laws, there are still employers who fire workers on the basis of these traits. If discrimination is at the heart of an employee’s discharge, it is considered wrongful termination.
3) Filing a hostile work environment claim
Sometimes an employer will fire a worker because the worker has raised hostile or discriminatory workplace allegations. This may be considered a form of retaliation by the employer, which can be harmful to the employer’s chances of securing a favorable outcome in a wrongful discrimination lawsuit.
4) Retaliation for being a whistleblower
Workers who expose their employers for engaging in illegal or unethical behavior are more vulnerable to wrongful termination than the average employee. For example, $4.5 million was recently awarded to a former Missouri shopping center manager who was fired after exposing her employer for misusing charitable donations. The jury determined that the employee was fired in retaliation for whistleblowing.
5) Taking time off work or filing a worker’s comp claim
Firing employees for filing a worker’s comp claim, exercising their rights under the workers’ compensation laws, or for taking time off for illness is unlawful in some situations.. According to state law and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), employees, in many situations, are permitted to take time off work to care for an ill family member, to vote, or to perform jury duty without worrying that they will be subject to retaliation or termination.
6) Complaining about wages or work hours
State and federal law prohibits employers from firing employees for complaints about unfair/unlawful wages. Employees may also testify in wage-related proceedings without worrying that their employer will retaliate against them by firing them. If you recently filed a complaint about unfair/unlawful wages and were fired shortly thereafter, you may have grounds for a wrongful termination suit.
What should you do if you feel you have been wrongfully terminated?
Handling termination is not easy – particularly if you suspect your termination is related to one of the reasons listed above. In addition to feeling blindsided, you may not know how to respond or what you should do when you receive the news. While there is no official handbook or procedure manual for wrongful termination, the best thing you can do is contact an experienced employment attorney.
What is the single best step to take if you feel you have been wrongfully terminated?
Navigating the complexities of unlawful termination is not an easy process – especially if you are not familiar with state employment and labor laws. The single best thing to do if you suspect you were unlawfully fired is to contact a compassionate and knowledgeable Wrongful Termination Lawyer in Kansas City. A skilled attorney will listen to your story and review the details of your termination to determine whether you have a case. We invite you to contact us at Holman Schiavone to schedule a complimentary consultation. As Kansas City’s most trusted team of employment lawyers, we have a proven track record of success fighting for hardworking people who were wrongfully terminated. We look forward to putting our skills to work for you today!