In at-will employment states like Florida, employers and employees both have rights. Employees have the right to quit their jobs for any reason and at any time, while employers have the right to terminate you for any legal reason.
However, some employers terminate employees for illegal reasons. Illegal terminations may include:
- Terminations based on discrimination (based on an employee’s race, gender, disability, etc.)
- Retaliatory terminations (e.g., terminating an employee for filing a harassment complaint)
- Terminations based on whistleblowing (e.g., terminating an employee for reporting company’s OSHA violation)
- Terminations based on public policy (e.g., firing an employee for refusing to commit a crime)
- Terminations that breach the employee’s employment contract
Filing a wrongful termination claim
If you have been fired for any of the above reasons, you may file a wrongful termination claim against your employer. Your employer will likely claim that they fired you for a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason, such as poor work performance or excessive tardiness.
It will be your job to show that these reasons are untrue. For example, you may present evidence of positive performance reviews to contradict your employer’s poor performance claim.
What damages can I recover?
If you successfully prove your case, you may be entitled to compensatory damages for the losses caused by the wrongful termination, as well as punitive damages. You may recover damages for back pay, front pay, lost benefits, costs of searching for a new job, and emotional distress.
Getting fired from a job can be difficult, no matter what the circumstances. However, if you were terminated for illegal reasons, you may have legal options for recovering compensation.