Employers are not permitted to terminate or punish employees for their participation in a protected practice, such as reporting a safety violation or discrimination.
Despite federal and state laws in place to protect employees, termination as a form of retaliation remains all too common.
If you believe you’re a victim of wrongful termination, here are five important questions to answer:
- Did you previously report violations in the company to an outside agency, such as to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or a supervisor, colleague or human resources department?
- If you reported a violation, did your employer punish you in any way?
- Before your termination, were you part of an investigation into potentially illegal practices or behavior by your company?
- Did your company discourage you from participating in the investigation?
- Were you punished for doing nothing more than exercising your legal rights, such as taking a leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?
If you suspect that you’re a victim of wrongful termination, collect evidence to back up your claim. For example, if you have an email or letter from a supervisor stating that you were terminated because of your participation in an investigation, keep it for your records.
In some cases, you may be able to work out your disagreement with your human resources department. However, if this doesn’t work, learn more about your legal rights and how to protect them.
Depending on the circumstances, you may need to take formal legal action against your employer with the hope of receiving compensation and/or reinstatement.
It’s frustrating to be the victim of wrongful termination, but you shouldn’t let anyone infringe on your legal rights.