As an employee, you have certain rights and protections under the law. One of these rights is the right to be free from wrongful termination, or the termination of your employment for reasons that are illegal, in violation of public policy, or in violation of your employment contract. We can help guide you through the often-complex legal process of filing a wrongful termination claim and will fight tirelessly to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for being unlawfully fired. Contact our North Carolina or South Carolina offices today to schedule a consultation.
We understand the serious consequences that wrongful termination can have, including financial losses, damage to your reputation, and emotional distress. If you believe that you have been wrongfully terminated from your job, it’s important to understand your legal rights and options. Below, we’ll take a close look at what constitutes wrongful termination, the laws that protect against it, and the steps you can take to seek justice if you have been unfairly terminated.
What Is Wrongful Termination?
Wrongful termination occurs when an employer terminates an employee for reasons that are illegal or in violation of the employment contract. While most employment in North and South Carolina is at-will (meaning that either the employer or the employee can bring an end to the employment relationship for any reason and at any time), there are exceptions to this rule.
Employers cannot terminate an employee for discriminatory reasons, such as race, gender, age, religion, or disability. Employers also cannot terminate an employee in retaliation for exercising their legal rights, such as filing a complaint of harassment or discrimination.
Similarly, employers cannot terminate an employee in violation of an employment contract or collective bargaining agreement.
If an employer terminates an employee in violation of these laws, the employee may have grounds for a wrongful termination claim.
Examples of Wrongful Termination
If you think that you have been wrongfully terminated, it’s important to speak with a South Carolina employment lawyer to determine your legal options.
Wrongful termination can take many forms that could give rise to a legal claim:
- Discrimination: An employer cannot terminate an employee based on race, gender, age, religion, or disability. For example, if an employer terminates you because of your age, you may have grounds for an age discrimination claim.
- Retaliation: An employer cannot terminate an employee in retaliation for exercising their legal rights, such as filing a complaint of harassment. For example, if an employee is terminated shortly after filing a harassment complaint, the employee may have grounds for a retaliation claim.
- Breach of contract: If an employee has an employment contract or collective bargaining agreement that outlines the terms of their employment, an employer cannot terminate the employee in violation of those terms. For example, if an employee has a contract that guarantees them employment for a certain period of time, and the employer terminates the employee before that time is up, the employee may have grounds for a breach of contract claim.
- Public policy: An employer cannot terminate an employee for reasons that violate public policy. For example, if an employee is terminated for reporting a safety violation or for refusing to engage in illegal activities, the employee may have grounds for a wrongful discharge in violation of public policy claim.
Wrongful Termination in an At-Will State
Even in states that recognize at-will employment, such as North and South Carolina, there are legal protections in place to prevent employers from terminating employees in violation of their legal rights.
While at-will employment can make it more difficult to prove a wrongful termination claim, it is still possible to get justice. Speak with our Charlotte, NC employment lawyers to determine your legal options. We will fight to make sure that the law is fairly enforced and to get you the compensation you deserve.
What Are the Next Steps for a Wrongfully Terminated Employee?
If you believe that you have been unfairly terminated from your job, there are several options available to you:
- File an EEOC complaint: One option is to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), which is a federal agency responsible for enforcing federal anti-discrimination laws. The EEOC investigates complaints of discrimination and retaliation and can pursue legal action on behalf of the employee if it determines that there is sufficient evidence of wrongdoing.
- Seek compensation in state or federal court: Another option is to file a wrongful termination lawsuit in state or federal court. In a wrongful termination lawsuit, the employee can seek damages for lost wages, emotional distress, and other losses.
- Negotiate an out-of-court settlement with your employer: A third option is to negotiate a settlement with the employer. In some cases, employers may be willing to settle a wrongful termination claim outside of court in order to avoid the expense and negative publicity of a lawsuit.
It is important to review your case with an experienced labor attorney like those at The Noble Law. We will help you understand your options and choose the best path forward.
Get Wrongful Termination Representation from The Noble Law
If you have been wrongfully terminated in North or South Carolina, it’s important to take action and seek legal advice. At The Noble Law, we understand the complex laws surrounding wrongful termination and are committed to fighting for the rights of our clients.
Our experienced employment lawyers serving Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill can help you review the facts of your case and guide you through the legal process from start to finish. Remember, you have legal protections in place to prevent employers from terminating you unfairly. We want to make sure that you are compensated for the unnecessary harm brought against you by your employer. If you have any questions about your circumstances, please do not hesitate to call us. We will help you get clarity about your situation and give you all the information you need to decide on next steps.