No. Your North Carolina employer cannot legally fire you for bringing an overtime claim against them. If your employer retaliates against you by firing you, cutting your hours, or taking any other negative actions against you, we can ask the court to intervene on your behalf.
The Law Bars Employers from Retaliation for Filing Overtime Claims
North Carolina is an at-will employment state, which means your employer can terminate your employment at any time and for any reason that does not violate the rules set forth in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
It is against federal law to retaliate against an employee for bringing an overtime claim or asserting any other rights established by the FLSA. If your employer has an unlawful motive in your dismissal, this is a violation of the law.
Under the FLSA, your current employer cannot take any retaliatory action against you for filing a claim for unpaid wages. “Retaliation” could certainly include firing, but it could also include almost any type of negative action. Some common examples include:
- Demoting an employee
- Reducing hours or responsibilities
- Changing job titles
- Assigning unusual labor, menial tasks, or “dirty jobs”
- Withholding resources necessary to do the job
- Poor treatment compared to other employees
Take Action If Your Employer Attempts to Fire You in Retaliation for Your Claim
If your employer fires you or takes any negative action against you as a direct result of you filing an overtime claim, you need to take action right away to let them know you understand your rights under the FLSA. However, it can be difficult for the average person to prove retaliation. We can help.
We will also ensure your employer treats you fairly throughout the claims process. If they attempt to fire you, or if they already fired you, you may have a valid wrongful termination case against them. We will fight to help you keep your job and prevent any negative consequences of your unpaid overtime claim.
Proving Retaliation and Holding Your Employer Responsible
Both state and federal laws say your employer cannot retaliate against you for exercising your rights, but proving these cases is not always easy. To win a wrongful termination case, we need to prove they fired you in retaliation for your unpaid overtime claim and not for any other reason. Most professionals are savvy enough to not admit they are firing you because of your overtime complaint.
Without a direct admission of guilt from your employer, we need to provide evidence to show they fired you out of retaliation. This might be a number of seemingly small details as well as how quickly you got the pink slip after filing your complaint. Most employers retaliate in anger quickly after an employee files a claim, so the sooner you are fired after your filing, the more likely the two are related.
We may also be able to prove retaliation by looking at the employer’s history of similar actions, their initial response to your complaint, and other factors. We know what it takes to win a wrongful termination suit and can help you keep your job or receive a payout to help you make ends meet until you find a new position.
You may also be entitled to punitive damages in a wrongful termination case based on retaliation. This type of damages, intended to punish the employer for their inappropriate and illegal actions, could significantly increase the total compensation available to you.
Let Our Team Protect Your Rights and Recover the Wages You Earned
At Gibbons Leis, PLLC, employment law is all we do. We fight for the rights of employees, including holding their employers responsible for wrongful termination and other retaliatory actions.
We can help you recover your unpaid overtime wages and ensure your employer does not attempt to punish you for filing a claim. Call attorney Phil Gibbons today at 704-612-0038 for a free consultation about your case.