In an at-will state, an employer can employ, terminate, promote, demote and discipline an employee when they want to and for no reason at all. It makes wrongful termination seem like an impossible claim, but that is not necessarily true.
Wrongful termination is when an employer terminates an employee for a reason that goes against the law.
When does wrongful termination happen?
To prove your employer has wrongfully terminated you from your job, you must understand how and when it can happen.
Here are the forms of termination that is wrongful in Florida:
- Discrimination: Chapter 760 of Florida law states it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee’s “race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status” in any manner related to their employment.
- Reporting discrimination or harassment: Your employer cannot terminate you for reporting discrimination or harassment of any form in the office, whether it be against you or a fellow employee.
- Worker’s compensation claim: The employer cannot terminate you for filing a worker’s compensation claim.
- Time-off to care for a family member: All employees can take a leave due to the death, sickness or disability of their family member, and it is illegal to terminate an employee for this reason under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
- Unpaid overtime and wage complaints: The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) prevents employers from firing an employee if the reason is that the employee filed a complaint concerning overtime and unpaid wages.
- Violating the employment contract: Review your contract to see if the employer can only terminate you with cause; a breach of contract is another reason to file for wrongful termination.
Some of these types of wrongful termination only apply to companies with a certain number of employees. You should review the policies that govern your employment and termination.
You have the right to keep your job
Do not let an employer take advantage of your labor rights. If the employer is violating the law, you have every right to fight back against that.