A wrongful termination claim can arise in a multitude of situations. For instance, you can be wrongfully terminated as retaliation for reporting your company for environmental violations and you are wrongfully terminated if your employer fires you based on your race, sex, or creed. Even if your employer fires you in violation of an internal procedure, that could serve as grounds for a wrongful termination claim. With so much variation among wrongful termination claims, it is typical that some myths may arise. This post will go over each myth in turn and discuss how it is misleading.
First, many people assume that you can only sue if you were terminated because of some sort of discrimination. That isn’t true. As you can see from the examples above, wrongful termination arises whenever any wrongful act occurs that results in your termination. In fact, many companies try to insulate themselves by refusing to give workers justification for terminating them.
Second, you can’t sue if you are an independent contractor. Independent contractors are not employees but they do retain rights and protections. For instance, an employer cannot fire an independent contractor because she is African American, a female, or unmarried; all of those reasons are against the law. Furthermore, many “independent contractors” are actually misclassified employees and thus are entitled to protections.
Third, you can’t sue if you quit. Many employees are caught in this trap. There are numerous things an employer can do to force you to quit. For example, changing your hours to an unworkable schedule (i.e. scheduling work between three and four when you need to retrieve your children from school). Under the “constructive discharge” theory, employees can still sue if their employer takes actions that forces them to quit.
There are numerous ways to allege and prove a wrongful termination claim. If you believe you were wrongfully terminated, for any reason, you should discuss your situation with an attorney. In a perfect world, you wouldn’t need the courts to protect your rights. Unfortunately, this isn’t a perfect world and you don’t need to fight these injustices alone, a lawyer can help.