You went to work every day, got there on time and diligently performed your job duties. Your performance evaluations were never below average, and your supervisors never seemed to complain about your performance. So, why did your employer terminate you?
You may share this question with many Oregon residents. Could it be that something else was behind your termination? Did your employer wrongfully terminate you?
What circumstances could constitute wrongful termination?
Both federal and state laws protect you from your employer terminating you under certain conditions. If you believe that any of the following precipitated your discharge, it may have violated those laws:
- Violation of disciplinary and termination policies: Your employee handbook may outline the procedures that your employer must follow for disciplinary action. For instance, you may get two warnings before any disciplinary action, including termination, occurs. Only one warning prior to discharge could violate that policy.
- Discrimination: If you suffered discrimination based on your age, gender, race or religion, among other discriminations that violates federal and state laws, you may have a claim for wrongful termination.
- Retaliation: If you fall into the category of a whistleblower, federal law protects you from your employer firing you in retaliation. In addition, if your discharge was in retaliation for filing a complaint for discrimination or harassment, your employer may be in the wrong for terminating you.
- Contractual violations: If your termination violates your employment contract, you may have a claim.
- Illegal acts: If your employer fires you for refusing to commit an illegal act, you may be the victim of a wrongful discharge.
- FMLA violations: Your employer can't terminate you while on approved leave under the FMLA.
These examples do not encompass all of the actions taken by your employer that could constitute a wrongful termination. If you question whether your termination was legal, it may help to ask an employment law attorney.
If the evidence substantiates your belief that you were terminated in violation of the law, you may not be able to simply file a lawsuit against your employer. In most cases, you will need to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission first. After the EEOC completes an investigation, it may attempt to negotiate a settlement between you and your employer. If that fails, the next step could involve the filing of litigation.
If you prevail in a wrongful termination action against your employer, you may pursue both monetary and non-monetary damages. Requesting the appropriate damages involves understanding the laws regarding damages in these cases. To help ensure a successful claim resulting in compensation and other damages, you may benefit from seeking guidance and assistance.