An employer can terminate employees for a legitimate reason or for no reason. He or she cannot, however, treat you unfairly. An employer who fires someone for an unethical reason, such as harassment, may face legal action in the form of a wrongful termination lawsuit.
Terminated employees can file wrongful termination claims against employers for harassment if they can prove the act directly impacted the dismissal. Workplace harassment often goes hand in hand with discrimination. It is often defined as engaging in discriminatory behaviors a reasonable person would find intimidating and hostile.
You may not have a claim if you were dismissed for no reason and you happen to identify as a Muslim female. However, if you experienced acts of discrimination, including threatening language, sexual harassment, or cruel jokes and were subsequently fired, you may have a claim for wrongful termination.
Acts of harassment may include sending offensive material through email, developing or spreading unfair and untrue rumors, physical assault, preventing an employee from completing tasks, or using slurs and discriminatory verbal or body language. Employers must take responsibility for wrongful terminations unless they can prove they attempted to address the situation in a meaningful way.
Proving Harassment in a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit
To prove a harassment suit, an employee needs documentation, witness statements, records of physical abuse, and any other evidence. Unfortunately, hearsay or “he-said, she-said” arguments rarely constitute enough proof to move a case forward.
Many harassment cases also feature aspects of other wrongful termination causes. For instance, if you have a written or implied contract, your employer's behavior may also violate the terms of those understandings. Harassment may also indicate bad faith employment practices. In other words, your employer or supervisor may unfairly transfer you or mislead you regarding advancement opportunities prior to an unfair termination.
Talk to an Attorney or Move On?
Many people shrug off acts of harassment or unfair dealings because they do not want to continue engaging with the employer. Failing to report the actions to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) could lead to future incidents, however, and leave you with a poor reference. We encourage any individual who suspects harassment as cause for termination to speak with an attorney before moving forward. You have employment rights that many companies fail to explain properly.
If you need help after a wrongful termination, reach out to our team at the Law Offices of Brian I. Vogel at 626.796.7470 today.