How to Tell If You’ve Been Wrongfully Terminated 

Most employees work on an “at-will” basis, meaning they can be terminated at any time for any reason – except for an illegal reason. However, an employee with a contract is technically not an at-will employee. Also, there are over 100 federal laws and numerous state laws that prohibit discrimination or retaliation on various bases. For example, if you filed a workman’s comp claim and received notice of termination shortly after that, you want to know if that is legal. The circumstances might also indicate that you were wrongfully terminated under federal anti-discrimination laws. You may be able to file a suit or a complaint for compensation.  

If you suspect that you were wrongfully terminated, don’t hesitate to get in touch with The Noble Law where you will find legal and emotional support upon retaining our services. We will listen to your story, insights, and goals for resolution. Every member of our team fully appreciates the challenges our clients face after losing their jobs. We keep an open line of communication and so that you are part of the entire process from investigation through filing a lawsuit and recovering money damages. 

At-Will Employment 

Remember that employee handbooks typically are not the same as contracts. Actual contracts are either made with the individual or group. The former tends toward more specialized or highly compensated employees. The latter usually involves unions. Therefore, you may be protected under a collective bargaining agreement if you belong to a union. In North Carolina, labor unions for public employees do not have collective bargaining rights. However, the Federal National Labor Relations Act governs private employment unionization, and most private employers are bound by it.  

Employer Discrimination Against Protected Groups  

Being a member of a protected group doesn’t protect you from termination. However, your employer cannot fire you simply because you are a member of that group. For example, age discrimination is illegal. If you are an older employee who was terminated while younger employees performing many of the same duties retained their jobs, it is worth consulting a lawyer about whether you can prove age discrimination caused your termination. Your termination might be illegal because your employer wanted to replace older, highly paid employees with less expensive younger workers.  

Perhaps you are a woman working in a predominantly male environment. If you are fired even though you received good reviews, or you are subjected to hostility men do not face when they raise concerns, you may be a victim of sexism.  

It is illegal for an employer to fire you based on your: 

  • Race 
  • Religion 
  • Gender 
  • Genetic testing  
  • National origin  
  • Ethnicity 
  • Sexual orientation 
  • Disability  
  • Whistleblowing 
  • Union organizing  
  • Age 

Workers’ Compensation and Other Protected Activities 

Were you injured on the job and filed a workers’ compensation claim? You have the legal right to do this. Employers cannot fire employees simply because they assert their legal rights.In North Carolina, your legal rights regarding workers’ compensation are protected under the Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act (REDA). Other protected activities under REDA include filing claims under any of the following: 

  • Mine Safety and Health Act 
  • National Guard Reemployment Rights 
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act of North Carolina 
  • Wage and Hour Act 
  • Filing a Workplace Violence Prevention order 

Other areas under REDA include reporting domestic violence, pesticide exposure, and employer activities under the Paraphernalia Control Act. It is illegal if you asserted your legal rights and were terminated.  

Employer Retaliation  

Perhaps you have a good idea why you were fired, and it concerns your employer retaliating against you. If you did any of the following and were then fired, you may have grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit.  

Employers are not allowed to retaliate against workers for the following reasons: 

  • Filing a discrimination report 
  • Reporting illegal or unethical activities to a government agency 
  • Filing a lawsuit against the employer 
  • Testifying in court against the employer 

For instance, you discovered that your employer had received kickbacks from a supplier or engaged in other illegal activity and then reported it to the proper authorities. You believe the incident is connected to your termination. Your employer illegally terminated you but will likely use another excuse. That is where a wrongful termination lawyer can help.  

Contact a Wrongful Termination Lawyer at The Noble Law  

Losing your job is challenging and destabilizing. It is even tougher when you believe it was a wrongful termination. If you suspect you were a victim of this, a wrongful termination attorney at The Noble Law will investigate whether your employer violated the law in your situation. We’re ready to listen and help you get the justice you deserve. We represent clients throughout North Carolina and South Carolina. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today. 

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