No one should be fired from their job for refusing to break the law or put themselves in serious danger. After all, a job should be something that allows us to earn a living, not something that puts our freedom or well-being in jeopardy.
However, there are instances when an employer asks an employee to do something illegal or unsafe, and even threatens the worker's job should he or she fail to complete the task. If this has happened to you, you could have grounds for a legal claim.
Recently, for example, a man filed a wrongful termination lawsuit after he was fired for refusing to continue working. The man worked as a truck operator, and people in these roles are required to comply with strict Hours of Service regulations that prohibit drivers from being on the road for too long. Violating HOS regulations can result in serious penalties, not to mention the increased risk of getting in an accident due to driving while fatigued.
According to his claim, the man says that he refused to accept work that would have required him to drive longer than the hours allotted by HOS regulations. Shortly after this, he was fired.
The trucking company claims that the man's termination was based on a history of refusing loads without reason, being late and not being reachable by phone when necessary. However, each of these claims were challenged and shown to be inaccurate.
The courts agreed that his firing was wrongful and awarded him back pay, attorney's fees and other damages totaling nearly $200,000. The courts also ordered the company to give the driver his job back.
This is one example of what can happen when employees take legal action after wrongful termination. Not only can it result in compensation for an employee, it can also get that person back to work.
If you are in a similar position and feel that you were wrongfully fired from your job because you refused to do something illegal or dangerous, it would be wise to consult an attorney to examine your options for filing a legal claim and seeking civil damages.