“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 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 and Dominick were incredibly helpful throughout the entire process. They got back to me quickly, whenever I had questions, which helped me stay calm during a very stressful time. Rachel was confident in her abilities and knowledge of the labor laws, and she was able to secure a settlement for me. If you ever find yourself in a situation that requires you take action against an employer, I would highly recommend the Friedman Firm. There's no one I would recommend more to be in your corner.
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I needed an employment lawyer to work through a non compete. Pete at The Friedmann Firm was listed as one of the three best rated employment lawyers on a local website. I called him in the morning and later that night he was on the case and provided sound council through a very tense negotiation. Don’t take a chance with your career, reach out and get good council. Pete was very responsive every step of the way and delivered positive results. I highly recommend Pete and his Firm!
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I called them with some questions about my employment and Jamie was very helpful. I didn’t need an attorney to handle a case for me - only to help me navigate an issue I was having at work. She answered my questions and I felt she truly listened to me. I’d recommend this firm to anyone looking for an employment lawyer. Thank you!
Pete resolved issues I was having with my employer in a quick and favorable manner. He is also easy to talk to and understands his clients rights AND needs. You’d do right to call The Friedmann Firm.
I had a terrific experience with Rachel. She handled my case in a very professional manner. She made herself available and always kept me updated. Her knowledge of the law is incredible. She took the time to educate me on the legal processes so I understood what was happening with my case. Thank you Rachel for helping me navigate a most difficult situation. I am so thankful to have had you as my attorney. You have my highest recommendation.