Fairfield Wrongful Termination Lawyers
Getting fired is never a pleasant experience. While some people are glad to be out of a bad employment situation, in many cases the fired employee feels they were treated unfairly. They may even wonder if they can take legal action against the employer.
Connecticut is an œat-will state when it comes to employment. This means that under most circumstances, either the employee or employer may terminate the employment relationship at any time without having to give a reason. As a result, most fired employees have no legal cause of action unless they were under a preexisting employment contract that afforded them certain protections.
That said, there are cases where federal and Connecticut state law do recognize a claim for œwrongful termination. Typically, this involves the employer acting in a way that violates established public policy. The experienced Fairfield wrongful termination lawyers at Carey & Associates, P.C., can review your own firing and help you determine if you do, in fact, have a viable legal claim against your former employer.
What Qualifies as Wrongful Termination in Fairfield?
Again, it is important to emphasize that employers have broad discretion when it comes to firing at-will employees. In theory, your boss could fire you simply because they were in a bad mood that day and wanted to take it out on someone. In order to support a claim for wrongful termination, the burden is on you to prove that your termination was motivated by something expressly forbidden by law or public policy.
The most common grounds for wrongful termination include:
- Illegal Discrimination “ federal and Connecticut state law protects employees from termination based on a number of protected characteristics, such as sex, race, pregnancy, national origin, religion, disability, and age (if you are over 40). In other words, an employer cannot fire you because of a protected characteristic.
- Concerted Activities “ The National Labor Relations Act protects a number of œconcerted activities, which basically refers to speaking with co-workers about your working conditions. For example, if you compare salaries with your co-workers, that is a concerted activity. Your employer cannot fire you for such speech. Similarly, you cannot be fired merely because you advocate for better working conditions.
- Retaliation for Exercising Legal Rights “ Even at-will employees are protected by a number of federal and state laws, such as workers’ compensation and the Family and Medical Act. An employer therefore cannot fire you for, say, filing a workers’ compensation claim or taking FMLA-protected job leave. Similarly, it is illegal for an employer to fire someone who alleges workplace discrimination.
- Whistleblowing “ If you discover evidence of possible illegal activity in your workplace, the law protects you from termination if you report such information, either to your employer directly or to law enforcement or another government agency.
- Refusal to Violate Public Policy “ Just as an employer cannot fire you for reporting illegal activity, you also cannot be terminated for refusing to participate in illegal activity as a condition of employment.
- Defamation “ Under Connecticut law, an employer can be held liable for defamation if it makes up a false reason for firing an employee.
- Breach of Contract “ If an employee has an employment contract, it may require œcause“i.e., the employee did something wrong“before the employer can terminate the agreement. A firing without cause in this circumstance would be wrongful termination. And Connecticut law does recognize certain types of œimplied-in-fact contracts, such as employee handbooks, that may restrict an employer’s ability to terminate employees without cause.
How to Deal with a Wrongful Termination
If you have been fired“or suspect that you are about to be fired“it is crucial to gather as much evidence as you can before taking any legal action. Make sure you obtain copies of your employee file and, if applicable, any employment contract or employee handbook. Keep copies of all correspondence with your employer related to your termination. It is also a good idea to identify any co-workers or witnesses who might be available to testify on your behalf.
Your next step should be to contact our experienced Fairfield wrongful termination lawyers. At Carey & Associates, P.C., we can sit down with you and review all of the events that led up to your firing. We understand how federal and state laws work in this area and can advise you of the appropriate next steps. Call us today at (203) 255-4150 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.
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Mark and his team at Carey & Associates are incredibly knowledgeable about Employment Law and have walked me through every step of the way. Their approach and guidance has been extremely effective in dealing with my case. They instill a sense of confidence by laying out the facts, caselaw, and risk assessment to help make well informed decisions. I would highly recommend them to anyone looking for an Employment Attorney.
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