When can you sue for wrongful dismissal?
In the United States, all states but Montana are considered at-will employment states. This basically means that an employer can terminate an employee with, or without justification.
However, there are laws that prohibit firing due to unjust reasons, and as such, limit the “at-will” nature of employment in the US.
If your employer broke an employment contract, a federal or a local law while firing you, you may have a valid case of wrongful termination. There are 4 main types of wrongful terminations claims:
- Discrimination claims – US law prohibits bringing employment decisions biased by discrimination. This means discrimination against certain protected characteristics cannot form the basis of an employer’s decision to hire, fire, promote, demote, etc.
- Retaliation claims – Employees have rights at the workplace, such as the right to take medical leave, jury duty, report discrimination, etc. An employer cannot fire employees for exercising their lawful rights.
- Violation of public policy claims – Public policy violation claims are similar to retaliation claims. They involve the termination of an employee for exercising a legal right or refusing to do something illegal.
- Contractual claims – If you are employed based on an employment contract, you and your employer have extra rights and obligations. If an employer fires an employee in violation of a contractual term, it may constitute wrongful termination.
If your employer broke an employment contract, a federal or a local law while firing you, you may have a valid case of wrongful termination.
Common Reasons for Wrongful Termination
Here are the main categories of cases where filing a wrongful termination claim may be valid.
Clicking on any of the above links will take you to a detailed description of the given type of wrongful dismissal and example cases.
Time limits for filing a claim
Remember that there are time constraints to filing a claim. If you run out of time, you will not be able to enforce your rights in court.
How much time do you have to file the claim after being fired? Between 2 to 10 years, depending on the type of claim and the state you are filing in.
You can check your state’s statute of limitations here.