Employers have the right to terminate employees “at will.” This right allows employers to terminate a relationship with an employee for any reason. However, that does not mean employers can end your employment for illegal purposes. Employers must still respect employees’ rights based on several federal and state policies.
These policies include the Civil Rights Act of 1964, The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), The Fair Labor Standards Act, and The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). The reason for termination must not violate the rights of employees in any manner. If you suspect that your employer has wrongfully terminated you, contact the Shelly Leeke Law Firm to speak with a South Carolina wrongful termination attorney today.
Defining Wrongful Termination in Greenville, SC
Wrongful termination is a violation employers commit when they terminate employees for illegal reasons. This can occur when an employee’s termination is either a violation of their employee rights or a breach of their employment contract.
All employees have federal and state rights that prevent employers from exploiting them. These rights protect employees from discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, and unfair pay.
In addition to these rights, employees are often asked to sign an employment contract that addresses, among other matters, the procedure for termination.
These contracts establish the reasons and methods employers must follow to terminate you. When employers fail to follow the guidelines established in the contract, that may be considered a breach.
Examples of Illegal Reasons for Termination
Some examples of illegal reasons for termination include:
- Terminating an employee based on their race
- Firing an employee after they have filed a workers’ compensation claim
- Terminating an employee after they’ve practiced their whistleblower rights
- Firing an employee for reporting sexual harassment in the workplace
- Terminating an employee after they have taken time off due to illness or caring for a family member
- Firing an employee due to their age
How These Reasons Violate the Rights of Employees in South Carolina
Each one of these reasons for termination is against federal and state policy. If an employer terminates you based on age, gender, or race, that is a form of discrimination. Discrimination in the workplace is prohibited by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
If you return after taking FMLA leave and your employer decides to fire you, that is a direct violation of the FMLA Act. If you reported your employer for their unsafe actions and retaliated by terminating you, that violates your whistleblower rights.
Although wrongful termination is a federal offense, many employers continue to terminate employees for illegal reasons. This could be because wrongful termination is often difficult to prove. Talk to a Greenville wrongful termination attorney today.
The Consequences of Wrongful Termination
Employers can face severe penalties for committing wrongful termination. They may be ordered to pay costly fines. The supervisor or manager responsible for the wrongful termination may lose their position. The company’s reputation can suffer irreparable damage.
However, your consequences may differ. If you can successfully prove wrongful termination in a personal injury trial, you may be awarded compensation for your damages.
The same company may even rehire you.
How You Can Prove Wrongful Termination in South Carolina
One of the reasons why wrongful termination is difficult to prove is because employers use other reasons to justify an employee’s termination. Instead of outright admitting to terminating an employee because of discrimination, employers use the employee’s bad conduct as a reason. This is why evidence is so important in wrongful termination claims.
To be successful in a wrongful termination claim, you must prove two important factors: that the employer’s reason for termination is false and that the employer’s real reason for termination is illegal.
These factors must be met through two different types of evidence: circumstantial and direct evidence. You should speak to wrongful termination lawyers in Greenville, SC, as soon as possible after losing your job.
Explaining the Differences Between Circumstantial and Direct Evidence in Wrongful Termination Cases
Circumstantial evidence is evidence that is based on a reasonable inference. Instead of providing direct proof about a particular set of events, jurors must make certain inferences based on the evidence provided.
Examples of circumstantial evidence could include documentation of each employee’s interactions with the employer after returning from FMLA leave. Direct evidence, on the other hand, establishes a fact about the case. This evidence includes witness testimony, photos, pay stubs, etc.
Although it is always best to have direct evidence, this evidence is very rare for wrongful termination claims. This does not mean you will not successfully prove wrongful termination for your claim. If you can include circumstantial evidence establishing a pattern of bad conduct by your employer, you may successfully prove wrongful termination with our wrongful termination lawyers.
How a Wrongful Termination Lawyer in Greenville, SC Helps You
Speaking with a wrongful termination attorney in Greenville, SC, can bring clarity to your claim.
Wrongful termination attorneys can use their expertise to identify the illegal acts of employers. They can assess whether you are a victim of wrongful termination and the best way to proceed with your claim.
Wrongful termination lawyers can also identify the amount of compensation you may receive for your injuries. Wrongful termination is a violation that affects you financially, professionally, and personally. Wrongful termination lawyers can inform you of the damages you can sue for in your claim.
Call the Shelly Leeke Law Firm to Schedule an Appointment Today
Our Greenville wrongful termination lawyers are here to help workers who have been illegally let go from employment. A wrongful termination attorney will go above and beyond to establish a personal rapport with clients.
The Shelly Leeke Law Firm is well-versed in wrongful termination, and we can create a strategy that benefits you. Despite your employer’s beliefs, they cannot terminate you for illegal reasons.
Schedule a consultation with us using our online form when you want to hold your employer accountable for wrongfully terminating you. Call our office, or submit our contact form to schedule a consultation in Greenville today.