Existing Clients 404-214-0120

B&F Blog

Think You're About to Be Terminated?

Posted by Kathy Harrington-Sullivan | Oct 29, 2019 | 0 Comments

A looming termination is understandably unnerving, especially when it's not clear whether there is any legal protection that may help. One of the most important things for employees to know is this: there are some federal job protections in limited circumstances, but not all discrimination, retaliation or harassment is illegal.

Pexels photo 313690

If the discrimination, retaliation, or harassment/bullying at work is not based on anything protected by law, then, save for criminal violations like assault and battery, the employee may be completely at the mercy of the employer in the way they are treated at work, up to and including a termination, and regardless of any advance warning. Examples of legally protected issues include race, religion, gender, sexual harassment, age, disability, national origin, pregnancy, FMLA, or overtime.

Other common workplace issues, like competitive jealousy, office politics, unfounded bullying, or personality clashes, have no legal protections whatsoever. It's important to realize that reporting unprotected issues can leave the employee wide open to further mistreatment or even termination - and such a termination might be grossly unfair, but completely legal.

In an at-will state, and most states are, the hard truth is that none of us are entitled to our jobs, but we are entitled to some legal protections at work in certain circumstances. If one of the legally protected issues listed above is a suspected basis for mistreatment or retaliation, then employee complaints (whether made internally or lodged with the EEOC) about the mistreatment or retaliation would also be protected. It would be illegal to continue to retaliate against or terminate an employee for making such a complaint, as long as the complaint was based on a reasonable, good-faith belief about treatment that is, or is approaching, unlawful.

If you are uncertain whether your employer is doing (or is about to do) something illegal, the best approach is to consult with an attorney, and the best timing is to do so early on, when the problem starts – don't wait until the problem is out of hand to speak with someone.  A knowledgeable employment attorney can discuss your situation with you and help you figure out what protections may be available to you. Further, if your situation is one protected by law, an attorney can advise you about what steps you may be able to take to protect your rights going forward.

If you think you have a claim against your employer, call 404-487-0903 to speak with one of our attorneys, or choose a day and time most convenient for you and visit our website at www.justiceatwork.com to schedule your complimentary consultation with an attorney.

About the Author

Kathy Harrington-Sullivan

Kathy Harrington Sullivan is a Partner at Barrett & Farahany and manages the firm's case evaluation team. Because knowledge truly is power, Kathy and the Atlanta employment attorneys on her team regularly consult with and empower potentia...

Comments

There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

We Do Things Differently.

When you reach out to us, you will receive a complimentary consultation with one of our skilled Atlanta employment attorneys. During our initial consultation with you, we can help you to better understand your rights and will work with you to determine what course of action is in your best interest. We take great pride in providing assistance based on years of experience negotiating and litigating employment matters to protect employee interests. If you find yourself in need of dedicated legal representation, we are prepared to advocate on your behalf – our goal is always to protect employee victims of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.

Menu