Workers in Maryland are protected by both state and federal laws against wrongful termination and other types of discriminatory or unfair labor practices. When violations occur, employers can be held liable through a civil lawsuit, with damages that may include reinstatement to your prior position, compensation for lost wages, and payment of fines, legal fees, and other costs.
If you have recently been fired, how do you know if the situation calls for a lawsuit? The following are four situations that can create liability and land employers in hot water.
Common Practices that Could Form the Grounds for Wrongful Termination
Many states are known as ‘at will’ employment states. In general, this gives employers plenty of freedom in how they choose to hire or fire employees, as an employment lawyer in Towson, MD from a law firm like Seigel & Rouhana, LLC can explain. However, it does not give them free rein to engage in practices that are either discriminatory or in violation of stated policies and employment laws. The following are four common practices which employers may engage in, which can end up forming the grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit:
1. Not specifying why an employee is being terminated.
While employers are not required to provide a reason for firing an employee, failing to do so opens the employer up to suspicion. If there is even the slightest chance that a termination was based on the employee’s age, gender, race, religion, or disability, an employer could be held liable in a lawsuit under the Equal Employment Opportunity Act. This also applies in cases where an employee faced sexual harassment on the job, or if an employee refused to engage in illegal or dangerous practices.
2. Terminating an employee after positive performance reviews.
Most employers provide periodic reviews of their workers and their ability to perform tasks associated with their job, which can provide important evidence in wrongful termination cases. If you have received numerous positive reviews in the past or been steadily promoted, a sudden termination does not make sense and is likely to raise questions in the event a lawsuit is filed.
3. Having bad timing.
Employees have the right to speak out against unfair or unsafe conditions on the job and are protected under state and federal whistleblowers laws. Filing a complaint or lodging a grievance and then being fired a short time afterward could entitle you to damages in a claim.
4. Violating policies and contracts
Employers are bound to follow policies they have laid out in their employee handbook and to honor employment contracts they enter into. If you are terminated, your attorney can review these documents for discrepancies.
Get Help Today
If you are terminated from your job and have concerns about the reasons why, reach out and contact a qualified employment lawyer right away. These attorneys can arrange confidential consultations and will advise you on the best course of action to follow if you have a wrongful termination case on your hands. Don’t hesitate – reach out today.