Wrongful dismissal could change your entire life. Work is an essential part of our lives. It provides us with a way to earn a living and a vehicle to pursue our dreams. If we work for 40 hours a week until pensionable age, the average person will have worked over 90,000 hours in their lifetime. Therefore, events at work could affect us significantly.
One of such events is a wrongful dismissal. Accordingly, our employment lawyers have written this article to shed some light on what constitutes wrongful dismissal and the steps to take in the event of wrongful dismissal.
What Is a Wrongful Dismissal?
Wrongful dismissal is also known as wrongful termination. It occurs when individuals believe that they were fired illegally from their job. Employment laws vary across the United States. However, what they all have in common is the protection of an employee’s basic rights. This also includes the right to protection from wrongful dismissal.
Under Connecticut employment law, an employer cannot fire an employee based on race, gender, religion, disability, age, sexual orientation, or political views. In addition, an employee cannot be fired for refusing to break the law or in retaliation for an action deemed harmful by the employer.
Furthermore, an employee cannot be fired for complaining about harassment or discrimination, which is protected under the law. In some cases, employees may not be given a written contract upon employment. Fortunately, this does not mean they can easily be fired as an employment contract could be implied.
However, an important factor comes into play with employment law – at-will employment. Put simply, at-will employment refers to an employer’s right to fire an employee without reason.
All 50 states in the U.S practice at-will employment, although there are exceptions. For example, there is the public policy exception practiced by 42 states, including Connecticut.
Under the public policy exception, an employer cannot fire an employee if it violates a public policy. For example, an employer cannot fire an employee for refusing to engage in illegal activity.
Another exception to at-will employment is the implied contract exception. Under this exception, an employer cannot fire an employee if it can be shown that they made an implied promise of job security. Again, this holds even if there was no written contract.
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What Should You Do If You Have Been a Victim of Wrongful Termination?
Getting fired from a job can be a deeply frustrating and embarrassing event. Therefore, it is common to see individuals act irrationally following a wrongful termination. Fortunately, there are ways to ensure you recover damages for your dismissal.
Your first step should always be to evaluate the situation with a calm mind. Losing a job is often unexpected. However, your hurt does not equal wrongful termination. Before you decide to file a claim or lawsuit, ensure that you consider what happened.
You could ask your employer why you were fired. Some employers will provide a reason but not all will. Although employers do not have to give a reason for firing an employee, they could make up reasons.
If this happens, the employee could sue the employer for defamation. Speaking to a lawyer could help as they will have more understanding of what constitutes wrongful dismissal and can advise you accordingly.
After ascertaining that you have cause to suspect wrongful termination, you can file a complaint with the appropriate agencies. For example, in Connecticut, you can file a complaint with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) and the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC).
Like any other case, a statute of limitations applies, and you should ensure you adhere to it. For example, you have 300 days from the day of termination to file a complaint with the CHRO and EEOC. For breach of contract claims, you have six years if the contract is in writing and three years if the contract was oral.
Filing claims with the appropriate agencies may not give you the desired results. Hence, you may wish to hire an employment attorney. For some others, their first action is to hire an attorney. Either way, hiring an attorney gives you the benefit of having a professional explain your options to you.
Hire the Best Employment Lawyers in Connecticut
We hope this article has provided some detail on what could be termed a wrongful termination case. Therefore, if you believe you are the victim of wrongful termination, you may be on the lookout for excellent employment lawyers.
We represent clients with various claims, including age discrimination, sexual harassment, unpaid wages, and unpaid overtime. So regardless of your situation, we advise that you contact us to learn how to proceed.