Choose Barrett & Farahany to See Justice at Work™
People get fired for legitimate reasons – unethical conduct, insubordination, poor performance – and for some strange reasons – such as voting for a certain candidate or wearing orange to work.
Almost every state has at-will employment legislation in place – meaning that unless you have a contract, your employer can terminate your employment at any time for any reason and with zero notice. While most employers will give workers fair warning about performance issues and allow you the time to enact corrective measures, the truth is, you can be let go for something as simple as a personality clash.
However, you may have a case for wrongful termination if your firing stems from illegal discrimination, refusal to carry out illegal or discriminatory directives, or reporting violations of a law that includes anti-retaliation protection. In any of these cases, you may be entitled to remedies due to the fact that your termination was illegal and unsubstantiated. In fact, according to the EEOC, wrongful termination claims have increased 260 percent over the past 20 years. If this is the case, an Atlanta wrongful termination lawyer at Barrett & Farahany may be able to help you.
Contact Barrett & Farahany online or call (404) 487-0903 for a free consultation with a wrongful termination attorney in Atlanta.
A Closer Look at Wrongful Termination
Discrimination of some kind is often involved in these cases. Federal laws, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, prohibit termination based on one's gender, race, nationality, religion, age, disability, orpregnancy. However, in 2012, almost 100,000 charges were filed with the EEOC because companies based their employment decisions on bias rather than an employee's performance. For instance, the EEOC recently charged a company for terminating an employee's position because she wore dreadlocks – discrimination based on an African-American's physical and cultural characteristics.
The termination may also go against public policy statutes. While there may not be a federal law in place, many state laws may protect employees from unlawful termination. For example, a company cannot fire an employee who is injured on the job to avoid paying workers' compensation claims. In addition, a company can't fire an employee for exercising his or her legal rights, such as taking time to vote or sitting on a jury or refusing to participate in an illegal act for the organization.
As an employee, you have the right to inform a state or federal agency about any misconduct within your organization. Whether it is environmental, financial, or a Title VII violation, your disclosure can help protect your fellow employees and the general public against illegal conduct. Unfortunately, in order to quiet thewhistleblower, many companies retaliate by eliminating his or her position. In fact, the EEOC reported that 38 percent of its cases stem from retaliation. On September 30, 2013, a record $14 million was awarded to a terminated whistleblower whose actions led the Securities and Exchange Commission to recover “substantial investor funds.”
- How to Identify Wrongful Termination
- When is Terminating an Employee Illegal?
- 4 Steps You'll Need to Take Before Pursuing a Wrongful Termination Suit
Reasons for Illegal Termination
Georgia is an at-will employment state, which means as long as you don't have a contract in place, you can leave your job whenever you want. In turn, your employer has the right to terminate your position at any time and without any notice as long as that reason is not unlawful. Unfortunately, workers often lose their jobs for reasons that are completely unfair but not necessarily illegal.
If you feel you have lost your job for reasons that are discriminatory or otherwise unlawful, consult the employment attorneys at Barrett & Farahany We can help you determine if your termination is in violation of federal or state law and take the next steps needed to get your job back or seek damages if appropriate.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), wrongful termination claims have increased 260 percent over the past 20 years, meaning that workers in Atlanta and throughout Georgia remain at risk of losing their jobs because of discrimination, retaliation or other illegal reasons.
There are a number of reasons an employer terminates an employee that may be illegal under federal law:
- Discrimination – In 2012, the EEOC received 7,400 claims of race, sex, age, disability, and religious discrimination from workers in Georgia. For many, they have faced harassment and hostile workplaces because of others' biases. Others have lost their jobs simply because of a physical characteristic, even though laws like Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act are in place to protect their rights.
- Retaliation – Last year in Georgia, 2,000 claims of retaliation were filed with the EEOC against employers in the state. Employees may experience unlawful retaliation for filing a claim with the EEOC, participating in another employee's discrimination case, making an internal complaint of discrimination to the employer, or for blowing the whistle on illegal practices in the organization.
If you feel you have been fired for a reason that violates the law or public policy, you need to talk with a wrongful termination lawyer in Atlanta who can take your case before the EEOC.