In an “at-will” employment environment, employers are permitted to fire employees for almost any reason or for no reason at all, as long as the firing does not violate the law or public policy.
The exception is when an employee can show his or her firing was wrongful because it violated state or federal prohibitions against firing an employee for a discriminatory reason or if the firing was in retaliation for the employee reporting the employer to state or federal officials in certain protected circumstances.
Businesses that are subject to anti-discrimination laws are prohibited from firing employees on the basis of race, age, sex or some other protected category. In many cases, employers are not permitted to fire employees for being “whistleblowers” or who have complained to the appropriate regulatory agencies about wage or working condition issues and employers are prohibited from firing employees because they filed workers’ compensation claims.
Employees who can prove wrongful or retaliatory termination may be entitled to back wages, fines or even punitive damages.
Contact Lori Ecker for superior representation and counsel in all wrongful and retaliatory discharge matters.