If you believe you were the victim of workplace discrimination, contact us today. In some cases you have as little as 30 days to file a claim.
"The range of issues covered by the EEO laws is very broad, and covers any matter related to an individual's employment. Specific issues...that a charging party may raise include, but are not limited to, termination." EEOC.gov
Do I have a Wrongful Termination Case?
In order to bring a wrongful termination claim, it's important to understand that, with a few exceptions, you must show your termination was at least in part motivated by discrimination, discriminatory retaliation because you complained of discrimination previously, or whistleblower retaliation.
How Do I Link My Wrongful Termination to Discrimination or Retaliation?
The court requires a "causal connection" exist between your wrongful termination and the discrimination and/or retaliation you experienced. This connection can be shown through "circumstantial" evidence, meaning circumstances surrounding your termination that point toward discrimination and/or retaliation being a motivating factor. Examples of circumstantial evidence include comments made to you, a new discriminatory supervisor, discriminatory jokes made about a group of people that management fails to stop, your medical condition causing you to miss work, or being terminated shortly after complaining of discrimination, among many other examples. You can also use "comparator" evidence, which exists when co-workers are not being treated the same as you under similar circumstances.
This is only half the battle, however - if you are going to win your wrongful termination claim, you must also prove the company's business reason is illegitimate.
How Do I Prove the Company's Business Reason is Illegitimate?
Most people think proving a company's business reason is illegitimate means proving the reason is false - this will not win your case. Not only must you prove the business reason is false, but you must also prove that the company has no reasonable belief that it is true. The company may use witnesses or other evidence to try and show that they believed in good faith that you did what you are accused of doing. You must use the discovery process to demand documentation and take witness statements to prove otherwise.
To illustrate this idea, say that you are terminated due to an accusation that you cursed at your supervisor. A he-said, she-said situation would be up to the jury to decide who is telling the truth. However, the company may present a witness who supports the supervisor's story. If you are able to show that the witness has a known bias, like being personal friends with the supervisor or being offered a promotion in order to falsify their witness statement, then you have proven no legitimate belief exists on the part of the company.
But what happens if what you are accused of is true? You could still win your case if you can prove that your co-workers did the same things you are accused of doing, management knew about it, and didn't terminate them. If there is a difference between you and your co-workers that is protected by law - a difference in race, gender, whistleblower status, and others - then you have a possible claim.
Could I Fall Into One of the Exceptions You Mentioned?
You could fall into an exception to the wrongful termination analysis above if you are a public employee, if you are a member of a union, if you have a collective bargaining agreement with your employer, or if you have a contract with your employer.
Feel free to click on the links above for more information about these different types of claims you may be able to bring to defend against your wrongful termination. If you feel that your situation falls into one of these categories, please contact our wrongful termination lawyers today for a free case evaluation.