Charlotte attorneys solving wrongful termination disputes
Do you believe you were wrongfully terminated? Did your employer retaliate against you for blowing the whistle on unethical or illegal business practices? Are you worried about wrongful termination? Regardless of what side of a wrongful termination dispute you fall on, it is important to have an experienced employment law attorney protecting your interests.
At Maloney Law & Associates, PLLC, we have extensive experience representing employees and employers in wrongful termination disputes. We take a unique approach to every case and work closely with our clients to find solutions that meet their needs.
If you are involved in a wrongful termination case, call us today at 704-323-8961 or toll free at 888-321-1955 to schedule an appointment with a knowledgeable employment law attorney.
North Carolina is an at-will employment state, meaning the employment relationship can be ended by the employer at any time, with few exceptions. The exceptions that would constitute wrongful termination include being fired as retaliation for pursuing a harassment or discrimination claim, or for acting as a whistleblower against illegal activities.
If you are an employer, effective avoidance of a wrongful termination claim begins with having a concrete policy for dealing with employee complaints. This policy must lay out the proper procedure for employees to file complaints, as well as for employers to investigate and act on those complaints. It is important to keep all documentation relating to employee complaints in the event that you may be sued for wrongful termination.
As an employee, do not resign without talking to an employment attorney first. You can only raise a wrongful termination claim if your employment is actually terminated by the employer.
Common Scenarios of Wrongful Termination in the Workplace
When an employee is wrongfully terminated from their job, it can be a devastating experience. Not only does it mean the loss of income and benefits, but also the loss of dignity and self-respect. If you have been wrongfully terminated, you may feel angry, frustrated, and even betrayed.
It is important to remember that you are not alone. Thousands of workers are wrongfully terminated every year, and many have successful legal claims against their former employers.
Many different scenarios can lead to a wrongful termination claim. Some of the most common include:
- Discrimination: If you are terminated because of your race, religion, gender, national origin, or disability, you may have a discrimination claim. These are protected characteristics that employers are not allowed to consider when making decisions to reduce their workforce. Any evidence that the sole reason for your termination was discrimination can be used to support your claim.
- Retaliation: If you are fired because you complained about harassment or discrimination based on a protected charecteristic, you may have a claim for retaliation. Employees are legally protected from acts of retaliation when they engage in “protected activity,” such as filing a complaint with HR or participating in an investigation.
- Breach of contract: If you have an employment contract that specifies the terms and conditions of your employment, and your employer is found to have breached any detail of that contract, you may have a claim for wrongful termination. For example, if your contract states that you can only be fired “for cause,” and you are fired without cause, you may have a claim.
- Violation of public policy: If your termination violates a state or federal law, you may have a claim for wrongful termination. For example, if your employer asks you to do something that is illegal, or if you blow the whistle on your employer’s illegal activities, then you may have a claim.
What Compensation is Available for a Wrongful Termination Claim?
When a wrongful termination case is won by the employee, they may be eligible for lost wages and benefits, future pay, attorney’s fees and possible reinstatement to the former position. In some cases, there may even be the possibility of an award for punitive damages. With experienced guidance, the negative impact on an employer’s business can be minimized.
What Compensation Can I Earn for a Successful Wrongful Termination Claim?
The amount of compensation for a successful wrongful termination claim will depend on the details of your case. In general, damages awarded for employment cases are tied to the salary of the employee and based on lost wages. Additionally, the more severe the harm you have suffered, the more compensation you may be entitled to.
Compensatory damages reimburse you for your losses. These damages can include:
- Back pay: This is the amount of money you would have earned from the date of your termination to the date of the judgment, minus any earnings you received from other employment during that time. This is intended to make you “whole” for the income you lost as a result of being wrongfully terminated.
- Front pay: This is the amount of money you would have earned between the date of the judgment and the date you could reasonably have been expected to find new employment. This is intended to make you “whole” for the income you would lose after the judgment. This compensation is not awarded if you have already found new employment or immediately rejoined your former employer.
- Emotional distress damages: These are damages meant to compensate you for the emotional trauma you suffered due to being wrongfully terminated. This can include anxiety, depression, and loss of sleep due to the stress of the situation. It is important that emotional distress be documented and backed up by counseling, therapy, or medical records.
- Punitive damages: These are damages that are meant to punish the employer for particularly egregious conduct. They are usually only awarded in cases where the employer’s conduct was outrageous and done to cause harm. For example, if you can show that you were fired to retaliate against you for complaining about harassment, you may be able to recover punitive damages. Further, punitive damages are not available in cases dealing with public employers such as a local government.
What Are the Steps I Need to Take to File a Wrongful Termination Claim?
If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated, there are a few steps you should take:
- Gather any relevant documents: You should gather any documents that may be relevant to your claim. This can include things like your employment contract, company handbook, performance reviews, emails or other communications with your employer, and any documentation of your reported harassment or discrimination.
- Organize your thoughts: You should try to put together a clear and concise summary of the events that led up to your termination. This can be helpful in communicating your story to an attorney or filing a claim with the appropriate state or federal agency. Your summary should start with your hiring, then highlight any important events during your employment, and finally detail the circumstances of your termination.
- Speak with an attorney: An experienced wrongful termination attorney will sit and listen to your story, review any relevant documents, and give you an honest assessment of your claim. After this careful review, the attorney can help you decide whether to move forward with a wrongful termination claim.
- : If you decide to move forward with a wrongful termination claim, you will need to file a claim with the appropriate state or federal agency. In most cases, this will be the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or your state’s fair employment agency. An attorney can help you with this process and ensure that your claim is properly filed.
- Go to court: If your claim is not resolved through the administrative process, you may need to file a lawsuit to recover damages. An experienced wrongful termination attorney can help you navigate the litigation process and give you the best chance of success.
If you have been wrongfully terminated, it is important to take action as soon as possible. There are time limits for filing a claim, so you should not delay in seeking legal assistance—this risks losing your ability to recover damages and hold your employer accountable. To move swiftly and preserve your rights, it is best to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.
Contact Maloney Law & Associates, PLLC, Today
At Maloney Law & Associates, PLLC, our legal skills and experience let us offer clear and effective strategies for both employees and employers in wrongful termination claims.
To make sure your rights are fully protected in any wrongful termination dispute, contact us at 704-323-8961 or 888-321-1955 and speak to one of our experienced attorneys.