Getting fired, especially in an unstable economy such as ours, can be a terrifying thing. When you are unsure where your next paycheck will be coming from, it can be difficult to focus on whether your rights were infringed upon. Here are some common questions that employees have after they are terminated:
Can my employer fire me for no reason?
Washington is an “at-will” employment state. This means that in most cases, your employer can fire you at any time for any reason (or no reason at all.) Therefore, wrongful termination cases only occur under very specific circumstances.
What qualifies as wrongful termination?
Most wrongful termination is covered by anti-discrimination laws. The protected statuses for wrongful termination are the same as in those laws; you cannot be fired because of your race, color, age, sex, sexual orientation, religion or national origin.
If you have a specific contract with your employer that is broken by your termination, you may have been wrongfully terminated. Also, if you are a member of a union you may be protected from being discharged without cause.
You cannot be terminated in retaliation for reporting wrongdoing on the part of your employer. If you see illegal activity, or if you or a co-worker is being discriminated against or harassed, you cannot be fired for reporting those incidents. You are also protected from being fired as a form of sexual harassment.
I think I was wrongfully terminated. What do I do?
Wrongful termination can be a complicated issue, and it can be difficult to know where to turn if you believe that you were wrongfully terminated. The first step is to figure out why you believe you were wrongfully terminated:
Were you discriminated against because of a protected status (race, sex, etc.?)
Are you member of a union, and protected by them?
Do you have an employment contract that precludes you being terminated without cause?
Are you being sexually harassed?
Most of the time, figuring out why you were wrongfully terminated will set you on the path to getting justice. For example: if you were being discriminated against because of your protected status, you would need to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Often times it is difficult to sort through, and so it may be helpful to talk to an experienced Seattle employment lawyer to figure out what your next step should be.
Why You Should Choose Premier Law Group
At Premier Law Group, we understand that figuring out what to do after you have been terminated can be stressful and confusing, and we are here to help you through the process. We are aggressive employment attorneys with years of experience in successfully representing people who have been unfairly treated by their employer. We have won millions of dollars for our past clients and we will do whatever we can to help you recover the maximum possible compensation. If you have been wrongfully terminated, visit one of our Seattle, Bellevue, or Vancouver offices or call us at 425-531-7284.