Getting laid off is never an exciting moment in life. It brings a lot of stress and questions. While sometimes it may be expected due to corporate financial hardship, other times it can seem completely random. This can lead anyone to people wonder when a layoff is considered wrongful termination.
Wrongful termination is defined as an employer firing a worker for an unlawful reason or terminating an employee in violation of a company policy or contract.
If an employee is wrongfully terminated, they can present their case to a lawyer to bring to court for legal restitution. Keep reading to learn the specific scenarios in which a layoff can be considered wrongful termination.
Whistleblowing is protected by both federal and state laws. These laws protect employees who refuse to participate in an illegal or dangerous activity at the workplace. It also protects employees from refusing to participate in such behavior and reporting such behavior.
Employees cannot terminate an employee for whistleblowing. Additionally, they cannot lay off, cut pay, withhold bonuses, skip promotions, or harass an employee who whistle blows. Employers who do so can be sued and subject to a criminal investigation.
Many corporate entities hire employees under contracts. These contracts are there to ensure both the employer and the employee are protected. Contracts have many different stipulations and often have detailed clauses about the termination of an employee as well as other pertinent rules and restrictions for both parties. So, what does this look like?
If you have a contract with an employer that states something such as “Employee will not be terminated or laid off for four years except for a good cause,” and you are still laid off, this is considered wrongful termination.
This is because there is a contractual obligation for the employer to keep you employed for the timeframe that was agreed upon unless the employer can prove good cause. Good cause is defined as an employer having a good faith reason for terminating an employee. This could include but is not limited to evidence of theft, fraud, or harassment.
Violation of Federal and State Laws
Another example of a layoff that could be considered lawful termination is when an employer performs the layoff against federal and/or state laws. This includes a layoff that directly violates any of the anti-discrimination laws.
For example, if an employer finds out their employee is pregnant and determines that they are no longer fit for the position or will be out of the office too much and lays them off, the layoff would be considered a wrongful termination.
Pregnancy discrimination is a protected class under anti-discrimination laws. This means that it is unlawful for an employer to terminate based on this and other protected categories.
Employees are also protected from being terminated on the basis of race, gender, age, religion, national origin and disability. If any of these are a factor in the layoff, it would be considered wrongful termination.
Right The Wrong
If you believe you have been a victim of unlawful termination, it is important to establish a meeting or consultation with a labor law attorney. This will allow them to assess your case and help you determine whether or not it should be pursued in a court of law.short url: