What Constitutes a Wrongful Termination?
“Wrongful termination” is the legal term for illegal firing.
An employer must have a legally defensible reason for ending a worker’s employment. This means, for instance, that a company cannot just say a person failed to meet performance standards; rather, evidence of substandard performance must exist. Lawyers and judges call an unverifiable explanation for firing an employee “pretext.” Showing that a stated reason for a firing is a pretext is the heart of a wrongful termination lawsuit.
When a wrongful termination occurs, the victim may be able to sue his or her former employer for lost wages, future earnings, and damages that can include emotional distress. A particularly egregious wrongful termination can also result in the award of punitive damages, which represent a noncriminal punishment that serves as a warning to other employers who may want to violate a worker’s rights.
Very broadly, wrongful terminations result from discrimination, retaliation, the violation of an employment policy, or the breach of an employment contract. Many different illegal actions fall into these categories and the Columbus, Ohio, wrongful termination attorneys with the Friedmann Firm list several below. If you believe your employer fired you without a good, legal reason, contact us online or call (614) 610-9755 to discuss your options for holding the company and its managers accountable.
Discrimination Is Often Grounds for a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit
No employee can be fired based on his or her
- Skin color
- National origin or ethnicity
- Genetic information
- Marital status
Federal laws also protect workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation and military status. Ohio laws are not in complete agreement with federal statutes and regulations, so speaking with a lawyer that handles wrongful termination cases in Columbus will help a plaintiff understand whether to bring a case in state or federal court.
Employers Cannot Engage in Retaliation Against Employees
No company or its managers can fire a person as punishment for engaging in protected activity. Such protected activity includes
- Whistleblowing (i.e., reporting wrongdoing)
- Reporting unsafe work conditions to supervisors or regulators
- Complaining about “bait and switch” practices like assigning responsibilities that are completely different from those outlined during the hiring process
- Complaining about discrimination
- Complaining about harassment and/or abuse, particularly sexual harassment and racial discrimination
- Going on strike
Retaliation can take many forms other than termination. An employee who suspects that a demotion, reduction in pay, denial of promotion, or reassignment to a more hazardous job happened because he or she engaged in protected activity should contact an Ohio employment lawyer.
A Firing Can Represent a Policy Violation or Breach of Contract
An employer has contractual and regulatory obligations toward an employee. Among other things, this means a company and its managers cannot fire someone to
- Avoid paying wages, overtime, commissions, and/or bonuses
- Avoid fulfilling the terms of a written or implied employment contract (e.g., awarding raises, granting promotions)
- Deny use of paid time off and/or family medical leave
- Replace a person while he or she serves on a jury
- Replace a person who is serving on active duty in the military
As noted above, this is just a partial list of actions that can give rise to a wrongful termination case. All concerns that a firing happened for illegal reasons deserve investigation.
Rachel was absolutely amazing. As an attorney she really took the time to really listen to my concerns. She was honest and kept me informed every step of the way. The outcome was favorable on my behalf and I appreciate her efforts to achieve a good outcome. I would highly recommend her and the Friedmann firm to represent me if ever needed in future.
Working with Rachel Sabo from Friedmann Firm was absolutely amazing! She upholds integrity, honesty and without a doubt fights for what is right! Rachel was extremely transparent and real! Please don’t let wrong be right, Rachel will strive to advocate and put her whole heart in obtaining resolve in your situation! What an absolute blessing, she won my case in less than 1 week💪
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Rachel Friedmann of the Friedman Firm was my attorney for a very recent legal matter. I would highly recommend Rachel based on her legal knowledge, her honest appraisal of the matter and expected outcomes, her open communication and timely responses to my questions and the matter itself, and her steadfastness in dealing with the opposing counsel until a final agreement was reached.
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Couldn’t be happier with the representation I received from Jamie Bailey on my civil litigation case. She worked tirelessly to resolve the case and in the end negotiated a fair settlement on my behalf. I would highly recommend her to anyone! Thanks for everything Friedman law firm.
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The Friedmann Firm (specifically Pete Friedmann) represented me through what seemed like a never ending employment discrimination suit. The suit was filed just before Covid shut everything down in 2020. Add to that a former employer who refused to admit fault. In spite of all of that, Pete stood resolute in his representation of me and working for the best outcome for me. We ended up settling prior to trial and I was more than satisfied with the results. Pete was always available to answer questions and reassure me throughout this process. I highly recommend The Friedmann Firm!
Pete Friedmann and his firm are fantastic. He represented me for more than a year going through a suit with a previous employer. He walked me through every step of the process and was always quick to respond to any questions I had. My settlement came in and we parted ways with both sides being pleased with the outcome. I highly recommend the Friedmann firm and wouldn’t hesitate to use them again in the future if the need arose. Thank you, Pete!
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I loved working with The Friedmann Firm. Rachel and Jamie are exceptional lawyers and were diligent in reviewing my case and letting me know of my options. Jamie was extremely thorough and handled even the smallest details of my case with ease. The entire process was seamless and they were always quick to respond to emails and calls. I would definitely recommend working with The Friedmann Firm.
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