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Wrongful Termination in Georgia

Wrongful Termination in Georgia

If you believe that you lost your job unexpectedly for illegal reasons, you may be the victim of wrongful termination. If so, you could have the grounds to pursue a wrongful termination suit against your employer. In the state of Georgia, an employee that files such a suit against their employer has substantial legal challenges, due to the complexity of these laws. Specifically, Georgia is a state where employees work at will, therefore employers have the right to terminate any employee whenever they want whether or not there is a specific cause.

Despite Georgia employers’ ability to fire their employees at will, there are instances where an employer can be held accountable for a wrongful firing. Discrimination (and retaliation for complaining about discrimination), for example, is one of the exceptions to the rules that employers must not breach. Victims of wrongful termination in Georgia have rights and to best protect them, call the Atlanta wrongful termination lawyers at Hall & Lampros at 404-876-8100 today.

What is At Will Employment? Most employees in Georgia are employees “at will,” meaning that the employees work only “at the will of the employer.” This means that an employer can terminate the employee for any reason so long as it is not an illegal reason. Illegal reasons include discrimination based on race, sex, nationality, and religion; retaliation; breach of contract; and protected activity.

What is Wrongful Termination?

It is important to understand that there are circumstances where a being fired from a job may be illegal under the law, and a victim can take legal action to remedy the situation. Employees are entitled to protections under both federal and state employment laws. The following are examples that illustrate what types of wrongful termination exist:

Discrimination – The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission explains that under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, there are certain classes that have defined protections under the law. These classes are race, sex, nationality, and religion. If an employer has a prejudice against an employee based on any of these classes and this is the reason why a firing took place, that would be considered wrongful termination.

Retaliation – When an employee engages in a lawful act such as such complaining of harassment or discrimination or becoming a whistleblower, punishment for these actions by an employer is unjust. It is illegal for an employer to terminate an employee for engaging in such lawful acts. Other forms of retaliation include demotion, reduction in pay, denial of raises, “freezing out” an employee by not providing opportunities, and other adverse employment actions. Employers must not retaliate against their employees, and if they do, an employee can respond with legal action.

Breach of Contract – Some employees may have an employment contract in place where there are terms that outline how termination operates. If an employer violates the provisions of the employment agreement, they can be held liable for those actions. In other cases, an employee may have an understanding of certain job security measures from a conversation with an employer. Although proving a conversation took place is a challenging task, it is still possible to have this constitute wrongful termination.

Protected Activity – There are actions that the state and the federal government protect for all employees. Taking time from work to vote or serve in the military are preserved actions under the law. Taking time to get medical care often is (but not always) a protected activity. Employers cannot fire an employee for engaging in activities that are protected.

What Employees Can Do If They Were Wrongfully Terminated

When a wrongful termination in Georgia takes place, it is important to consider contacting an employment lawyer as soon as possible. In many cases, there are time-sensitive deadlines that accompany a legal suit. Failing to meet these deadlines could mean forfeiture of rights to file a legal suit. If you believe that you have been wrongfully terminated, consider contacting the wrongful termination attorneys at Hall & Lampros.

What Are the Wrongful Termination Deadlines?

There are strict time limits when it comes to filing a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. These include:

Discrimination Under Title VII – Title VII claims that address discrimination in the workplace. Race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin are all protected classes. A claim must be filed 180 days from the date that the discriminatory action took place. When a state enforces similar laws of workplace discrimination, that timeframe can be extended to 300 days.

Age Discrimination Claims – Age discrimination claims must be filed 180 days from the date the discrimination took place. The deadline can be extended to 300 days when a state also enforces a similar law. The United States Department of Labor has more resources and information on age discrimination.

Section 1981 (42 USC § 1981) – This law does not require a victim to file a charge with the EEOC before a claim is filed for race discrimination. A claim, though, must be filed within four years from the date of the incident.

Family and Medical Leave Act – Victims of FMLA violations allow for two years from the date of the violation to file a suit. When violations of FMLA are willful, a victim then has three years.

Americans with Disabilities Act – Victims of ADA violations have 180 days from the date of the incident to file a claim with the EEOC.

Fair Labor Standards Act – Victims of FLSA violations have two years to file their lawsuits. When the violations of the FLSA is willful, that deadline extends to three years.

Contact a Wrongful Termination Lawyer Today

If you were the victim of wrongful termination in Georgia, you may feel unsure of your next steps and if you have the legal right to pursue justice. Contact the experienced Atlanta wrongful termination lawyers at Hall & Lampros at 404-876-8100 today to have your questions answered, and help you understand all of your legal options.

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