Wrongful termination in Alabama
Complete guide for employees in 2019
Complete guide for employees in 2019
Like most states in the USA, employment in Alabama is “at-will”, which means that in most cases, an employer can change an employee’s employment terms and conditions at any time, without notice or reason.
This simply means at-will employees can be fired or demoted at any time.
However, employees do have some protection at the workplace, as there are numerous exceptions to the employment at-will doctrine in Alabama.
This article will discuss these exceptions and offer advice on what to do if you feel you were wrongfully terminated in Alabama.
Table of Contents
Firstly, there are a few types of employees who are generally protected to some extent from the at-will doctrine:
If you fall into any of the above categories, make sure to check the terms of your employment if you feel adverse employment action was taken against you.
Secondly, beside the above groups, there are exceptions to the at-will rule that cover all employees. These exceptions are defined by federal, state and local laws. They declare a termination wrongful, when an employee is fired for an unlawful or impermissible reason.
The following list of exceptions to employment at-will protect existing employees, as well as job applicants.
Proving a wrongful termination claim in AL is the job of the employee. Sufficient evidence needs to be gathered to prove that the employer broke the law by firing (or not hiring) you.
Since there are many exceptions to the general “at-will” rule, an employee who was wrongfully terminated may be able to bring a claim under not just a single, but several federal, state or local laws.
Being an at-will employment state, Alabama law does not allow an employer to sue for wrongful termination simply because there was no reason for the termination.
However, there are laws that prohibit adverse action against employees through establishing groups with protected characteristics or protected conduct.
What constitutes adverse employee action?
The following laws protect employees from wrongful termination.
The USA federal government has passed numerous acts to protect employees from injustices. Here is a complete list of federal laws that prohibit wrongful termination.
Alabama has one state law that provides further protection, which is Alabama’s Worker’s Compensation Act. Based on this Act, it is illegal for an employer to fire, threaten to discharge or retaliate against an employee solely for seeking worker’s compensation.
You can turn to the following organizations if you feel you’ve been the victim of an adverse action at your workplace.
It is important you know that there are time limits to filing a wrongful termination claim. These time limits are set by the statute of limitations on wrongful termination cases in Alabama.
If you think that you have been wrongfully terminated, it’s easy to understand that you would like to check how much money you can expect to be given for your wrongful termination claim.
If you reach settlement, the total amount you are given is always based on these factors: lost wages, reason of termination, emotional distress, the costs of finding a new job, medical expenses and benefits lost. Punitive damages might also be granted in rare situations, in the event the employer behaved egregiously.
As you’ll see from the sample claims above, giving a typical settlement for wrongful termination claims in AL is actually tricky because each individual case is unique.
The average wrongful termination settlement in Alabama is between $6,000 and $100,000.
Lawyers can be beneficial when working out a better settlement.
The average courtroom awards tend to be bigger, anywhere between $100,000 – $500,000. This is certainly one reason why employers prefer to settle outside of court. Several years of litigation, bearing the legal costs and maybe losing the lawsuit in the end is costly.
Taking a claim to court is generally the last option in wrongful termination cases. There are other means of settling the differences between the employer and employee, including mediation and arbitration. Your lawyer will work with you to negotiate a settlement that you are comfortable with.
If a settlement cannot be reached, the claim may be taken to court.
There are several types of wrongful termination damages available to plaintiffs, the measure of which will be determined by the court and jury.
Depending on the type of wrongful termination claim, some types of damages are not available and some are capped at a maximum amount.
Navigating the ins and outs of the legal system is difficult, which is why you need an employment attorney experienced in wrongful termination cases. First time legal consultations are usually free, where the lawyer will review your case and offer an opinion on your claim.
Most lawyers work on a contingency fee basis (30-40%), which means their fee will be a percentage of any settlement or award you get for your case. You will still be responsible for paying the official expenses associated with filing you case.
Once you hire a lawyer, you will be advised on what documents you need to gather, the statute of limitations for filing your claim and how to commence with the case.
Your goal is for you and your lawyer to negotiate the best possible settlement or severance package. If a settlement cannot be reached, the lawyer will take your case to court.
Even though employment-at-will is the prevailing form of employment in the USA, there are laws to protect employees against unjust discrimination and harassment.
WrongfulTerminationSettlements.com was created as a compass for people who feel they have been terminated wrongfully, or discriminated against at their workplace.