South Carolina may be an at-will employment state, but that does not mean your employer can fire you in violation of state and federal discrimination laws. There are many instances in which your employer can face adverse consequences for wrongful termination. If you made a complaint when you became aware of employment law violations, reported harassment or discrimination in the workplace, or were otherwise terminated due to a protected act, you may have legal options.
Although going up against your employer after they have wronged you can be intimidating, with help from an experienced North Charleston personal injury lawyer, you can hold them accountable to the fullest extent of the law. Do not let them get away with potentially destroying your reputation and future. Make them pay and recover your lost wages, compensation for emotional distress, and more.
Do you believe your employer has violated state or federal employment laws? Are you unsure of where to seek help? Do not hesitate to contact an experienced North Charleston wrongful termination attorney at Shelly Leeke Law Firm to discuss your legal options during a free consultation today.
When Termination Is Considered “Wrongful”
Your wrongful termination lawyer in North Charleston, SC is here to help you hold your employer accountable for their employment law violations. Many employees are under the impression that living in an at-will state for employment purposes means their employer can terminate their employment for any reason at any time. However, this is simply not the case.
There are many employment laws in place that are designed to protect employees from wrongful termination. Essentially, anytime your employer violates employment laws as they terminate you, they can face legal consequences. There are specific protected statuses that may apply.
If your employer wrongfully terminated you due to any of these protected statuses, you may have grounds for a wrongful termination complaint against them. If your case is successful, you could be reinstated in your former position, awarded back pay, or otherwise be compensated for your suffering. Here is more information about some of the top reasons for wrongful termination in North Charleston:
Common Reasons for Wrongful Termination
There are many reasons employers may attempt to terminate your employment. In some instances, it is for discriminatory reasons, which might include firing you because of your gender, religion, sexual orientation, race, or other protected status, and there are so many other reasons why employers may wrongfully terminate their employees. Some examples of their reasoning could include:
- Failure to show up for a shift because of jury duty
- Refusing to work in hazardous work conditions
- Taking a leave of absence due to medical reasons
- Standing up against your employer or blowing the whistle
- Your political beliefs or taking time off during a work day to vote
- Refusing to sign a non-compete agreement
Wrongful termination can occur in a variety of employment law situations. Some of the most common instances we see wrongful termination include wrongful termination for pregnancy, whistleblowing, discrimination, retaliation, and public policy violations.
Wrongful Termination for Pregnancy
It is more common than you might think for companies to wrongfully terminate people who attempt to take time off for pregnancy or request accommodations. Fortunately, there are multiple state and federal laws that protect against pregnancy discrimination and wrongful termination. These include:
- The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978
- The Americans with Disabilities Act
If you were wrongfully terminated when your employer suspected pregnancy or was informed of your pregnancy, you may have the right to pursue a wrongful termination claim against them. Our wrongful termination attorneys are here to ensure your rights are protected. Hold them accountable for their employment and labor law violations so you can recover the compensation you deserve and protect others from the same unjust treatment.
Wrongful Termination for Whistleblowing
Suppose you discover employment law violations or criminal activity at your job and attempt to report your findings to your employer or an official government agency and are subsequently terminated. In that case, you may have grounds for a wrongful termination suit.
Examples of retaliation go beyond simple wrongful termination and can include threatening, harassment, intimidation, and discrimination.
Wrongful Termination and Discrimination
Anyone who is part of a protected class under Title VII is protected from being discriminated against or wrongfully terminated by their employers. But how do you know if you are a part of a protected class? Some of these protected groups include:
- National origin
Wrongful Termination and Retaliation
Acts of retaliation at work are often common before wrongful termination. Even if you have the best intentions, it is not unusual for companies to retaliate against employees they consider to be a problem. If you experienced any of the following acts of retaliation prior to your termination, you may have the right to move forward with an employment law complaint:
- Unfair performance reviews
- Being passed over for a job opportunity
- Inappropriate discipline
- Pay reduction
Wrongful Termination and Public Policy Violations
Your employer cannot fire you for taking time off of work in specific circumstances. In fact, there are certain instances in which your employer is prohibited from firing you if you request time off. These include:
- Exercising your FMLA rights
- Exercising your right to time off after pregnancy or birth
- Exercising your right to vote
- Taking time off to serve on a jury
- Taking time off to perform service for the military
Protections for Employees Against Wrongful Termination in North Charleston
Your wrongful termination attorney in North Charleston, SC, can help you through these difficult times after wrongful termination. There are state and federal laws in place that can help protect employees. These laws include:
- The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act requires workers to be provided a minimum of 60 days notice prior to a massive layoff. This applies to companies with more than 100 employees, not including those who have only been working for the company over the six months prior to the layoff and those who do not work more than 20 hours per week.
- State employment laws require employees to be paid all due wages within 48 hours of termination or the next scheduled payday and must be paid within 30 days of termination.
How to Demand Justice for Wrongful Termination
There are multiple ways you can resolve your wrongful termination complaint. Our wrongful termination lawyers can review the details of your case to determine which approach is most likely to produce a favorable outcome. Your options could include:
- Negotiating with your employer
- Attending mediation
- Having your case heard in binding arbitration
- Filing a civil lawsuit against your employer
In some cases, attending mediation and negotiating with your employer does not result in a favorable outcome. Binding arbitration can be stressful, as you do not have the opportunity to appeal the arbitrator’s decision. Your attorney will closely evaluate the details of your case to determine whether negotiations, mediation, arbitration, or litigation are most likely to be successful in your case.
Recoverable Damages When You Are Wrongfully Terminated
Ultimately, our North Charleston wrongful termination attorneys hope to maximize the compensation we recover and ensure your employer faces sanctions and other penalties. Some of the different damages you may be entitled to after wrongful termination include:
- Double back pay
- Compensation for unpaid overtime
- Compensation for loss of income
- Restitution for mental anguish
- Compensation for unpaid vacation time
- Costs of attorneys fees
You could also be awarded punitive damages. However, court systems generally only do this when defendants are intentionally egregious or grossly negligent. Your wrongful termination lawyer will examine the evidence and your employer’s actions to figure out whether punitive damages could be issued in your wrongful termination case.
Who to Sue for Wrongful Termination
It is difficult to say who should be sued when you are wrongfully terminated. You might assume the supervisor who fired you could be held accountable. However, they could have just been the messenger.
You may have the right to file a lawsuit against your employer, the company you work for, your bosses and supervisors, and potentially your colleagues. Our in-depth investigation will reveal the identities of those who should be held accountable when you are wrongfully terminated. It is our goal to bring anyone who played a part in a wrongful termination to justice.
This way, you can truly be made whole. Nothing will change the experience you went through. Suing at-fault parties not only offers the compensation you need to cover your expenses and help you pick up the pieces of your life but potentially prevents similar wrongful acts from occurring in the future.
What to Expect from Your Wrongful Termination Complaint
It is important to understand how wrongful termination complaints work. As soon as you have an opportunity, get help from an experienced legal professional. This way, you can navigate the claims process more easily.
Many victims of wrongful termination hesitate to get the legal help they need when they need it most. This is partly because they are unsure whether they have grounds for a claim and are overwhelmed at the thought of moving forward with a legal case. However, once you know what to expect, you may feel confident and empowered in demanding justice.
Every person’s case is different. However, the wrongful termination complaint process may be similar. Here is more:
- You hire a wrongful termination lawyer
- We investigate your complaint and gather valuable supporting evidence
- Your employment law attorney carefully evaluates the various ways your life has been affected by the wrongful termination and your loss of income
- We attempt to negotiate with your employer
- Your attorney files wrongful termination complaints with the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission and potentially the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC)
- Government agencies investigate your employer for wrongful termination, harassment, discrimination, or retaliation
- Your lawyer determines whether it is in your best interests to move forward with mediation, arbitration, or litigation
How Long You Have to File Your Wrongful Termination Claim in North Charleston
Time may be limited to file your wrongful termination complaint. If you are filing a complaint with the SCHAC, you may have only 180 days from the date of the discriminatory act to file your claim. However, you may also have the option of filing your claim if the incident occurred within 300 days of the discriminatory act.
If you are pursuing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court for wrongful termination, you will need to adhere to the personal injury statute of limitations. Under South Carolina laws, you have three years from the incident date to file your claim. If your claim is not filed before time runs out, you lose your right to have your case heard in court.
We understand how confusing this must be. Having a reputable wrongful termination lawyer working for you could offer the clarity and support you need to get through these difficult times. With Shelly Leeke Law Firm handling your case, you do not have to worry about these deadlines limiting your opportunities for financial recovery.
Contact a North Charleston Wrongful Termination Attorney for Help Today
When your employer wrongfully terminates you, you can take steps to hold them accountable. Seek compensation for the emotional distress and financial losses you endured due to your employer’s employment law violations. You may be entitled to double back pay and full reimbursement for every single way your life has been affected.
The complaint process can be intimidating. However, when you have an employment law attorney advocating for your rights, you can demand justice. In doing so, you may be able to protect other employees who may be mistreated or wrongfully terminated by the same company.
Find out more about what is next for your complaint. Reach out to an aggressive North Charleston wrongful termination attorney at Shelly Leeke Law Firm. Schedule your confidential case evaluation when you fill out our convenient contact form or call our office to get started today.