Involuntarily losing your job is a painful experience, no matter the circumstances behind your firing. Being gainfully employed provides income and a sense of purpose, and losing both can bring about a sense of crisis.
The intensity of your sense of loss escalates when you feel you were wrongfully terminated. Wrongful termination is a legal concept that covers instances when you feel your employer has violated the law or in some way breached the terms of your employment contract if you have one.
In both instances, if you believe this has happened to you, your best course of action is to seek advice from experienced attorneys who focus on representing the interests of employees in the workplace. The De Castroverde Law Group team in Las Vegas has the right background and experience with work-related disputes to help assess your claim and make recommendations on your best strategy to recover damages. Here’s what you need to know about wrongful termination and how our team can help.
What’s Wrongful Termination?
Employees who sue for wrongful termination contend that they were dismissed from their jobs for an illegal reason under federal or state law. Proving wrongful termination can present a significant challenge since Nevada, like other states, gives employers the right to terminate someone “at will.”
The concept of “at-will” applies to employers and employees. Under the doctrine of at-will, employees can quit at any time for any reason; similarly, employers are free to terminate a position as long as the firing doesn’t violate the law or breach contractual agreements. Every U.S. state except Montana is an at-will employment state.
The most common wrongful termination claims involve allegations that the firing was for discriminatory reasons. Under state and federal law, employers can’t fire or take other negative actions against employees because of their race, age, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, or disability status.
These actions transcend firing. Employees can’t, for instance, be demoted or cut their pay for discriminatory reasons. In 2021, the Supreme Court ruled that Chapter VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also prevents employers from discriminating against someone because they’re gay or transgender.
It’s not easy to prove that an employer’s rationale reflects a specific act of discrimination. It often requires presenting evidence in the form of documents, emails, text messages, or testimony that, taken together, point to the actual reasons for someone’s termination. You should consult an employment lawyer immediately if you believe you’ve been discriminated against. The team at De Castroverde Law can work with you to evaluate the circumstances of your firing and advise you on the types of evidence you should collect.
Some employees agree to work based on the terms of a negotiated contract with their employer. Generally speaking, contracts will allow employers to terminate an employee broadly “for cause,” which may fall into one or more of these common categories:
- Poor performance.
- Not coming to work.
- Violent or threatening behavior.
- Sexual harassment.
- Violating employment rules.
Contracts may also set out more specific terms, such as failure to meet certain performance targets. An employee suing for wrongful termination must show that the employer acted for reasons other than those cited or didn’t have a good faith belief that the employee committed one of those specific violations.
State and federal laws also prevent employers from acting against employees who report violations of the law or other dangerous conditions in the workplace. A good example may be someone who works in a manufacturing operation and tries to report unsafe working conditions and is fired. That employee may have grounds for an unlawful termination lawsuit, as would employees who file complaints of sexual harassment. Understanding your rights requires the support of qualified and experienced wrongful termination lawyers. Contact De Castroverde Law Group for an evaluation of the circumstances of your case.
State and federal law provide a range of benefits and protections to employees that could also be implicated in a wrongful termination situation. For instance, employees can’t be fired for exercising their rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows for time off of work to care for a baby or an ill family member. They also generally can’t be fired for making claims under Worker’s Compensation laws that compensate employees for injuries on the job.
Why Hire a Wrongful Termination Lawyer?
You need an experienced wrongful termination lawyer on your side if you feel you’ve been unlawfully dismissed. Pursuing wrongful termination litigation can be lengthy and complicated, and the law gives employers much leeway in their actions toward employees.
Wrongful termination lawyers provide support, guidance, and encouragement through your engagement with them. Arguably the most important step comes at the beginning. Lawyers will work with you to investigate your case thoroughly by carefully reviewing your story, collecting documents, talking with witnesses, and evaluating the matter against the law and legal precedent.
Your attorney can represent you in discussions with your employer, depending on your goals for the case. They may be able to negotiate a settlement without going to court, for instance. If a lawsuit is necessary, your attorney will prepare the legal documents and represent you through all court proceedings. Notably, your attorney will also have responsibility for tracking deadlines to ensure documents are filed properly and on time. If required, your attorney will also try the case in court and may even be able to represent you if there are any appeals.
The key point is that you don’t have to go through the experience of wrongful termination alone. The team at De Castroverde Law Group will be with you every step of the way and fight hard for proper compensation.
DeCastroverde Law Group represents clients in areas involving criminal, immigration, and personal injury law. We serve clients in Las Vegas, Reno, other parts of Nevada, and Oakland, California. We’re known for our aggressive defense of your rights and are proud to say we were one of the first firms to offer bilingual staff and attorneys. Let us know how we can help. Call us or contact us today for a consultation.
Photo Credit: Courtroom One Gavel by Joe Gratz is licensed with CCO 1.0