After someone has been fired or laid off by their employer, the question often arises about whether the firing was done lawfully and whether an employee can sue their employer for an unlawful termination. The days and weeks after you have been fired can be filled with sadness, anger, anxiety and confusion.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of workers in this country are what is called “At-will” employees. That means that the employer can fire a worker for nearly any reason – be it a good reason, a bad reason, or for no reason at all. An employer is frequently able to fire an employee without warning and without prior bad acts.
The post below will hopefully help clarify whether you might be able to bring a lawsuit against your employer for wrongful termination.
Reasons You Might be Able to Sue Your Employer
According to the Vermont Fair Employment Practices Act it is illegal for your employer to fire or discriminate against you in any way based on your race, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, sexual preference, place of birth, age, disability or your HIV status. Usually, your employer won’t come right out and tell you that you’ve been fired for one of the reasons above, but if you have any reason at all to believe that you were discriminated against, contacting an attorney will help you figure out whether you might have a valid claim.
You also might be able to sue your employer if you were retaliated against for acting as a “whistleblower”. A whistleblower is a person, usually an employee, who exposes information or activity within a company or a government organization that is deemed illegal, illicit, unsafe, or a waste, fraud, or abuse of taxpayer funds. Regardless of whether you’ve alerted your employer internally or to the authorities, there are many laws that your attorney may be aware of that make it illegal for your employer to retaliate against you in any way.
An additional exception exists for public employees – or employees of any Vermont town, county or municipality. Those employees have been ruled by the Supreme Court to have a unique interest in their job and may only be fired for cause. If you’re a public employee and you have been laid off or fired by your employer, talking with an attorney is a good place to start as you might be entitled to compensation.
If you’re one of the lucky few who work under the parameters of an employment contract or a collective bargaining agreement, your contract will usually have a section that discusses what constitutes a fireable offense so a good thorough reading of your employment contract is certainly worth your time. However, many employment contracts simply state that the employee may be fired for any reason or without cause. If you’re confused about whether your employment contract offers you protection, contacting an attorney can be incredibly helpful.
KRAMER LAW OFFICES: FIGHTING FOR OUR CLIENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES
Our team has built a reputation for compassionate and fierce advocacy on behalf of our clients. If you or someone you know may have been fired for one of the illegal reasons listed above, you can reach Kramer Law by calling a 802-257-2221 or using our quick and easy contact form. We are also conveniently located in downtown Brattleboro at 42 Park Place if you would prefer to stop by. We are also happy to discuss your case remotely on Zoom if you wish.
As our client, we will take care of all of the legal, privacy and insurance related issues surrounding your case so that you are able to recover and work towards a brighter and better future.