Financial uncertainty and obstacles to future employment are the fallout of job termination. These are serious consequences for anyone to face. If they are incurred by a wrongful termination, you may have legal recourse to recover those losses and hold your employer accountable for their illegal actions. A South Carolina wrongful termination attorney from Shelly Leeke Law Firm can help you secure financial recovery, restore your professional reputation, and experience vindication after a wrongful termination.
Reach out for a free consultation today.
South Carolina Is an At-Will State
South Carolina is an at-will state. This means employers can terminate employees at any time and for any legal reason. Employers can even fire an employee for no particular reason.
Further, at-will status allows employers to change wages, benefits, or other elements of the employment relationship at will. They do not have to give notice and will not face consequences. Employees in at-will states have the same freedom to leave their employment at any time, for any reason or no reason, without facing legal repercussions.
If applied in its purest form, at-will laws leave employees extremely vulnerable as employers can arbitrarily fire workers or change their schedules or pay. Most states, including South Carolina, have established exceptions to the at-will laws, giving employees certain protections.
Federal Exceptions to At-Will Laws
The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has established exceptions to the at-will law, protecting workers from discrimination and termination based on race, gender, religion, disability, genetics, and other factors.
Federal regulations also prevent employers from terminating employees to retaliate against them. For example, it is illegal to fire employees to “get back at” them for reporting sexual harassment or other misconduct. Additionally, employers cannot terminate employees for acting as whistleblowers, taking medical leave, or otherwise asserting their legal rights.
Employers in Walterboro must comply with these exceptions. If you have been fired for discriminatory reasons, your firing was illegal, and you should contact Shelly Leeke Law Firm and secure representation from a wrongful termination lawyer in Walterboro immediately.
South Carolina’s Exceptions to At-Will Laws
South Carolina employers must also comply with state exceptions to at-will laws. These exceptions cover three categories: public policy, implied contract, and covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
Under this exception, employers are prohibited from terminating employees for reasons that clearly violate public policy.
Essentially, this exemption means state employers may not terminate employee relationships for reasons that clearly violate public policy. When employees file against their employers for wrongful termination under this exception, they must prove they were fired for one of the following reasons to see a favorable verdict:
- Refusing to break the lawyer on behalf of the employer
- Reusing to participate in illegal activities carried out by the employer
- Complying with authorities when issued a subpoena regarding the employer’s activities
When employers and employees have a legal written contract governing their relationship, the contract usually indicates circumstances under which an employee can be terminated.
In situations where there is no legal written contract, employers may be held to conditions of an implied contract under the implied contract exception. For example, employers may make verbal or more informal written communications, such as handbooks, addressing job security, disciplinary policies, or offering assurances that workers will remain employed as long as job performance is satisfactory.
Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing
This exception prevents employers from terminating employees in bad faith or when motivated by malice. A bad faith termination could involve the employer’s act of retaliation, fraudulent intent, or false or dishonest purposes.
Damages to Recover in a Walterboro Wrongful Termination Suit
Every wrongful termination case is unique, and settlement amounts vary. However, it is probable your lawyer will seek restoration for certain economic and non-economic losses.
Your Walterboro wrongful termination lawyer will assess the earnings you have lost because of your firing. These earnings include wages you would have received had you not been fired, any outstanding pay for overtime, back pay, or other compensation you are rightly owed.
The amount you collect can be reduced by income earned after your firing. If you find a new employer who pays more than the one who terminated you, you may “make up” some or all of that lost pay. If your new job pays less, there may still be losses to collect.
Employment benefits carry significant value. Calculating that value is complicated and is a task best performed by an experienced wrongful termination attorney in Walterboro. Benefits can include medical and dental insurance, pensions or other retirement plans, and stock options, among others.
If your wrongful termination triggered emotional duress, perhaps because your employee discriminated against you, abused you in some way, or damaged your reputation, you may be awarded damages for that emotional suffering. Most likely, you will need supporting testimony from a mental health professional to receive compensation.
While other damages restore your losses, punitive damages serve to punish your employer and act as a deterrent to others. Punitive damages are not available in every case, only those in which an employer’s behavior is especially deplorable.
A settlement can also cover your legal fees. If your employer is guilty of terminating your employment illegally, you should not have to pay for their wrongdoing through lost pay, benefits, or legal expenses. Your employer will foot the bill for the legal fight their actions caused.
Wrongful termination claims have the potential not just to bring you a settlement but to effect change. The court can order adjustments to an employer’s policies or behavior, creating fairer working conditions for others.
You Can Come to Shelly Leeke, or We Can Come to You
Building a successful case takes time, knowledge, and experience with federal and state employment laws. Fortunately, a Walterboro wrongful termination lawyer from Shelly Leeke can fulfill those requirements. Your lawyer will access documentation about your employer’s history and policies, as well as any relevant documentation you have, such as emails or performance evaluations.
Visit the Shelly Leeke Law Firm contact page and schedule a free consultation. If you cannot get to our office, we will come to you. Start working toward financial restoration and justice today.