We Can Help You Understand Your Rights As An Employee
When workers are let go, there tends to be a reasonable cause for termination. These reasons can include not fulfilling the duties of their position, consistently showing up late or missing work, or violating workplace rules. However, there are occasions when an employee is fired due to no fault of their own. In these cases, workers need to be aware of their rights to understand if their termination was unlawful.
If you’ve lost your employment for reasons that are protected by law, it’s time to fight for your rights. Our wrongful termination lawyer, Ken Hesser, has years of experience fighting back against companies that think they can fire workers without any repercussions. You are not alone! Contact us today to have your case reviewed.
What Is Wrongful Termination?
Employment is considered “at-will” in Florida, meaning that an employer can let go of an employee generally at any time and without reason. However, unlawful termination happens when protected employee rights are used as the basis for firing an employee. These rights can include discrimination, breaching employee contracts, or firing in retaliation for reporting hazardous or unlawful activity.
Protected Employee Rights
Knowing your employee protections can help in proving wrongful termination. Employees are protected from being fired for the following reasons:
- Wage and hour law violations. Rules regarding minimum wage, overtime, hours worked, recordkeeping, and child labor are all laid out in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). So for example, if your employer changed your weekly hours to avoid paying overtime and then fired you when you complained about it, you were wrongfully fired.
- Employment discrimination. An employer cannot fire you based on your race, gender, age, ethnicity, religion, or disability. As part of this, employers must provide reasonable accommodations for disabilities or religious requests.
- Sexual harassment. There are a variety of ways in which sexual harassment can take place and it is a very serious offense. If you were sexually harassed by your employer or another worker, you have the right to report it.
- Safety violations. A workplace must comply with OSHA standards to ensure the safety of all employees. If you were injured on the job due to workplace negligence, you may be able to sue your employer.
- Reporting unlawful behavior. Employees have the right to report a company if they have reasonable cause to believe they are engaged in illegal conduct. The company cannot fire an employee if their report comes to light.
- Participating in an investigation. An employee cannot be fired due to supporting a complaint or providing evidence in a federal or legal investigation against the company. For example, if you witnessed sexual harassment and you are testifying on behalf of the victim, the company cannot penalize you for your cooperation in the investigation.
- Lodging a formal complaint. Whether reporting internally to the company or to a federal or state enforcement agency, an employee cannot be fired for reporting on an issue, including any of the issues listed above.
Retaliation At Work
More than just wrongful termination is illegal when infringing upon employee rights. Your rights are still protected from other forms of workplace retaliation, including:
- Refusing to hire or rehire
- Refusing to give a promotion or pay raise that is deserved
- Transfer to undesirable position or schedule
- Disciplinary action, counseling, or reprimands that are not warranted
- Unfavorable job performance reviews or evaluations
- Enforcing stricter rules or standards on the individual employee
- Providing an undeserved negative employment reference
Proving Your Case With A Wrongful Termination Attorney
Proving wrongful termination can be difficult and an employer will try to fight your claims. Our wrongful termination lawyers can review your employment history, terms of severance, direct and circumstantial evidence, and more to help build your wrongful termination lawsuit. We have years of experience defending clients who lost their livelihood due to wrongful termination and we will vigorously defend your rights. This includes reviewing emails, letters, texts, conversations, voicemails, and interviewing witnesses. We’ll even investigate the company’s history to determine if they have a pattern of unlawful termination that will support your claim.
If you’ve been fired, demoted, or otherwise penalized for engaging in or being part of a protected activity, you may be entitled to back pay, reinstatement, and may even be awarded punitive damages. Consultations are free and no-risk. Contact us today to see how we can help you.