Losing your job is never easy. If you’ve been fired very suddenly, without warning and without notice, the difficulties can be immense. Many people contact our law office serving the greater Dallas, TX area and ask “Can I be fired without notice, or is that a case of wrongful termination?" The answer can be a little complicated.
We at the Law Offices of Dan A. Atkerson would like to consider at-will employment, getting fired suddenly, and how even at-will employees may be able to pursue wrongful termination lawsuits.
About At-Will Employment
At-will employment describes an arrangement in which an employer or employee can terminate their employment contract at any time without notice. That means employers may very suddenly ask for an employee to leave, and an employee may quit suddenly. With regard to employees in this case, while two-weeks notice for leaving a job is customary and a polite gesture, it is not technically necessary for at-will employees.
How to Find Out If You Are an At-Will Employee
To find out if you are an at-will employee, it’s important that you look over your contract. The employment contract should mention at-will employment and/or stipulate grounds for termination. Some contract protect employees from sudden termination, though that is not always the case.
Could the Sudden Firing Trigger Legal Action?
Even if you are an at-will employee, there is a chance that your termination was not justified. This would be an act of wrongful termination. Generally, there are two ways that being fired could trigger a legal action:
- You were terminated as a result of workplace discrimination
- You were terminated as an act of employer retaliation
Let’s explore both in more detail below.
Firing as an Act of Workplace Discrimination
Workplace discrimination means that you were mistreated at work due to your sex/gender, race, religion, sexuality, age, or disability. It is illegal for an employee to be terminated because of discrimination.
If you were let go due to who you are rather than your job performance, it’s important to file a complaint with a the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and/or the Texas Workforce Commission - Civil Rights Division (TWCCRD). Be sure to seek legal help from an attorney as well.
Firing as an Act of Employer Retaliation
Employer retaliation means that your company or supervisors punish you for actions at the company. This could be due to reporting workplace discrimination or sexual harassment, or because you acted as a whistleblower.
As with workplace discrimination complaints, it is important to file a formal complaint with the EEOC and/or the TWCCRD and to seek legal help from an attorney.
Filing a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit
Wrongful termination lawsuits can be challenging, but they will hold employers accountable for their illegal actions against you. The primary challenge is proving discrimination or retaliation, and that your termination as an at-will employee was the direct result of the employer’s discriminatory practices or attempts at punishing you for your actions.
By working with a skilled workplace attorney, you will be able to navigate all of the complexities regarding your contract, employment law, and other matters pertinent to your case. Your rights will always be our priority.
Contact the Law Offices of Dan A. Atkerson
For more information about your legal rights and options following termination from your job, be sure to contact an experience employment law and workplace attorney. Our law firm is here to help. You can reach our office in Allen, TX by phone at (214) 383-3606.