It can be heartbreaking to receive a termination letter you did not expect. However, even though you are employed at will and your employer can let you go at any time without warning or reason, the basis for your termination must be within the law. Therefore, it may be the best time to review the legality of your dismissal.
What led to your dismissal? For instance, if you were constantly performing below standards or engaged in fraud, your employer can discharge you from your job. However, if their grounds for dismissing you are unlawful, you should take action.
Instances of unlawful termination
Your employer is not supposed to terminate your employment on the following grounds:
- Discrimination. If you were fired because of pregnancy-related complications or a disability, it is against the law. Instead, your employer should provide reasonable accommodation for you to continue discharging your duties. Your employer is not supposed to discriminate against anyone in the workplace based on gender, race, marital status, among others.
- Filing a workers’ compensation claim following a workplace accident.
- Reporting a sexual harassment incident.
- You refused to engage in illegal activity such as cooking the books.
- Claiming overtime wages
Protecting your rights
If you believe your dismissal was unlawful and have supporting evidence to that effect, you could first talk to the human resource department for reprieve. If nothing comes out of it, you may then seek an audience with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by filing a charge of wrongful termination. You also have the option of going to court afterward.
Making informed decisions on the way forward after receiving the termination notice will help to ensure a favorable outcome for you.