Can you sue for wrongful termination?
In some cases, you absolutely can – but there are specific circumstances that allow you to sue your employer for wrongful termination.
Can I Sue for Wrongful Termination?
In many cases, an employer is well within its rights to fire an employee. The vast majority of workers in the U.S. are at-will employees, which means they can be fired for nearly any reason – even if they don’t agree with it or the employer doesn’t provide any advance notice.
The catch: Employers can’t fire you for the wrong reasons.
And there are many wrong reasons.
Discrimination and Retaliation: When You Might Be Able to Sue Your Employer
You may be able to sue your employer for firing you if your firing was discriminatory in nature or if it was done to retaliate against you.
Employers can’t discriminate against you or fire you because of your:
- Gender, to include pregnancy
- National origin
- Sexual orientation or gender expression
Employers are forbidden from firing an employee for asking for accomodations pertaining to a disability or because the employee is disabled, as well.
Employers can’t retaliate against an employee for participating in a protected activity. The term protected activity refers to:
- Whistleblowing, which involves bringing attention to an illegal practice
- Making complaints against discrimination
- Forming a union with other workers
Other Reasons Your Employer Can’t Use to Fire You
Under California and federal law, your employer can’t fire you because:
- You refused to commit an illegal act, like covering up theft, embezzlement or manipulated accounting numbers
- You reported sexual harassment
- You took time off for a protected absence, such as to vote, serve on jury duty or in the military, or under the Family and Medical Leave Act
How to Sue Your Employer for Wrongful Termination
If you believe your employer wrongfully terminated you, you may have legal grounds to sue. Your first step is to determine whether your employer illegally fired you – and that’s something your lawyer can help you do.
Your attorney will look at all the circumstances of your case, and he’ll ask you for verification on what happened. If you have any documentation that supports your claim, including performance evaluations or other paperwork from your personnel file, share it with your lawyer.
Your lawyer will most likely also want to see your pay stubs and tax returns; that way, you can prove how much the wrongful termination cost you in real financial terms if it becomes necessary.
A Word on Proof in Wrongful Termination
The burden of proving that your employer illegally fired you lies with you. Like all other accusations in the U.S. system of justice, the person who alleges that the other did something wrong is responsible for proving it. Think of a criminal case in which the state’s attorney (the prosecutor) has to argue and prove that a person committed a crime; the person who allegedly committed the crime doesn’t have to prove that he or she is innocent, but the prosecutor does have to prove that he or she is guilty.
Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Suing for Wrongful Termination?
If you suspect that your employer illegally fired you, we may be able to help you recover financial damages.
Call us at 818-805-1645 for a free case review right now. If you’re entitled to compensation, we can help you get it.