When an employee is laid off or fired for illegitimate reasons, they may have a case to file a wrongful termination suit. Do not attempt to file suit on your own. Call a wrongful termination lawyer in Charlotte at Gibbons Leis, PLLC for help building your case: 704-612-0038.
North Carolina is an At-Will Employment State
In North Carolina, under the at-will doctrine, employers may fire their employees at any time and for any reason. However, there are some exceptions to the rule. Federal and state employment statutes state that a termination may be illegal if:
- An employment contract prevents the employer from firing the employee at-will
- The termination stems from discriminatory or retaliatory reasons.
- The termination violates public policy
What constitutes wrongful termination?
Wrongful termination occurs when an employer fires or lays off an employee for illegal reasons, such as the following:
- National origin
- Citizenship status
The following could justify an employee filing a wrongful termination suit against his or her employer:
- Fired as a form of sexual harassment (e.g., an employer fires an employee after he or she refuses romantic advances)
- Violation of anti-discriminatory laws (e.g., employer fires female employee because she is pregnant)
- Violation of employment agreements (e.g., employer terminates employee in a way that violates the employee’s employment agreement)
- Violation of labor laws (e.g., employer terminates employee for refusing to work for less than the minimum wage)
- Fired as a form of retaliation (e.g., employer retaliates against and fires employee for filing a harassment complaint)
What are the next steps for a wrongfully terminated employee?
If an employee believes they have been wrongfully terminated, they may file a lawsuit against his or her employer for breach of employment contract.
Filing a Lawsuit
To file a successful wrongful termination suit against your employer, you will first have to determine the reason for your wrongful termination. Because North Carolina is an at-will employment state, this can be extremely difficult. A Charlotte wrongful termination lawyer will investigate all aspects of your case to determine if your employer discriminated against you, breached your contract, or retaliated against you.
Once you have determined the basis for your lawsuit, you will need to collect evidence to prove your case. Employers rarely admit to acting with illegal intentions. Therefore, you will have to use circumstantial evidence to show that you were the victim of wrongful termination. This circumstantial evidence may include:
- Showing that the employer has a track record of discrimination
- Showing that your employer has held back or fired others in your protected class
- Prove that the employer’s reasons for his or her actions do not hold up
- Prove that you were replaced or overlooked for someone not in your protected class (e.g., younger, male)
Legal representation will be very beneficial in building your case. Filing a lawsuit against your employer will require depositions of employers, current and past employees, and others. Phil Gibbons knows the right questions to ask to uncover evidence of employers’ wrongdoings.
Compensation You Can Recover in a Wrongful Termination Case
If you have successfully argued your case for wrongful termination, you may recover compensation. The court will order your employer to pay for the losses you suffered as a result of the termination.
- Lost pay: This includes both past and future wages you lost or may have lost due to the wrongful termination.
- Lost benefits: This covers any benefits you may have lost as a result of the wrongful termination. This includes medical insurance, pension, profit sharing, and stock options.
- Compensatory benefits: Compensatory benefits include economic damages, such as medical and job search costs, and noneconomic damages, such as emotional distress and pain and suffering. Courts may award these noneconomic damages in situations where a mental health professional can prove the effects of the employer’s actions on the employee.
- Punitive damages: Punitive damages may be available in situations where the employer’s actions were especially egregious.
- Attorney’s fees, costs and expert witness fees: You may be able to recover fees to cover some, or all, of your court costs and other expenses.
The process of filling a wrongful termination lawsuit is complicated and often requires many hours or days of investigation. Gibbons Leis, PLLC has decades of experience handling these cases and will help you formulate legal arguments to give you the best chance at winning your case.
Our firm also focuses entirely on employment law so you can rest assured knowing that your legal team is totally dedicated to your case and up-to-date on new employment law developments.
Give us a call today to schedule your free consultation: 704-612-0038.