Were You Wrongfully Terminated?
Louisiana is an “at will” employment state, which means that jobs are held at the will of the employer and the employee. It also means that jobs can be terminated by either the employer or the employee for any reason — or for no reason.
There are some exceptions to that rule, however, and these exceptions are the crux of wrongful termination claims. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is illegal to terminate an employee for reasons related to race, color, religion, gender or national origin.
It is also illegal for an employer to terminate an individual because the employee is pregnant, or in retaliation because the employee filed a discrimination claim, or because the employee reported illegal activity by the employer or is cooperating in an investigation of illegal activity by the employer ( whistleblowing).
Employees also cannot be terminated for taking a leave of absence under the guidelines of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). And finally, some employees are protected from termination without cause by an employment contract that was entered into by both parties.
When Is a Termination Considered Wrongful?
A wrongful termination can take place in any number of contexts. Most often, wrongful termination occurs when an employer fires an employee because of their race, religion, gender, age, or membership in another protected class. It may also happen for another reason, such as in retaliation for filing a discrimination claim, for being a whistleblower, or taking protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Wrongful termination cases are often difficult to prove, as employers tend to have a pretext for firing an employee. A seasoned New Orleans employment lawyer can put together evidence to demonstrate that the firing was illegal – and fight for your right to compensation for your losses.
What If I Quit? Can I Still Sue for Wrongful Termination?
If you quit because your working conditions became so intolerable that you had little choice, then you may still be able to file a lawsuit against your employer. Constructive discharge is a legal term that means that an employee was forced to resign (instead of being fired) because of coercion, deception, or mistreatment by their employer. If the reason that the employee quit was the employer’s illegal conduct – such as sexual harassment – then they may be able to file a lawsuit for wrongful termination.
Constructive discharge cases require proof that the working conditions weren’t just bad or annoying – they must be objectively intolerable. This means that the average person in your condition would also have been compelled to resign. If you believe that you were constructively discharged, reach out to a Baton Rouge wrongful termination attorney to schedule a consultation.
I’m an At Will Employee. Can I File a Lawsuit for Wrongful Termination?
Louisiana – like most states in the U.S. – is an “at will” employment state. This means that your employer can fire you for any reason, or no reason at all, as long as the reason is not illegal. At-will employment can make it harder to pursue a wrongful termination claim, but not impossible.
Because employers in Louisiana don’t need a cause to fire at-will employees, it is easier for them to create a reason for termination that covers an underlying motive. A skilled New Orleans wrongful termination attorney can dig into the facts of your case to determine if you were fired for an illegal reason, such as for your race or your age.
When Should I Contact an Employment Lawyer If I Was Wrongfully Terminated?
In Louisiana, there are strict statutes of limitation for filing a legal claim. A statute of limitation is a time limit on filing a claim. With a few exceptions, if you fail to file a lawsuit or complaint within that time period, it will be barred entirely.
The statute of limitations varies based on the underlying reason for the termination. For example, discrimination claims must be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Lousiana Commission on Human Rights (LCHR) within 180 days of the date of the alleged discrimination. To make sure that you meet these deadlines, reach out to an experienced New Orleans wrongful termination lawyer as soon as possible.
We Fight for Our Clients
If you feel you have been fired from your job illegally, the legal team at the office of Robert B. Landry III PLC, in Baton Rouge can help. When an employer has crossed the line, it is critical to have an experienced, knowledgeable and assertive employment law attorney in your corner.
Often, an incident of wrongful termination is preceded by other missteps by an employer. There may be signals leading up to the termination that something other than job performance or staffing needs is involved in the decision to fire a worker.
Attorney Landry knows how to build strong cases in wrongful termination claims because he was on the other side of these disputes for more than 10 years as a lawyer in the labor and employment group at a large Baton Rouge firm. That experience allows him to anticipate the defendant’s strategy in wrongful termination cases and develop strong, proactive approaches to combat those strategies.
We seek full and fair compensation in wrongful termination cases for lost wages and damage to an employee’s reputation. Often, we reach an agreement without going to trial, but we always stand ready to litigate if necessary. We are compassionate in working with you and will aggressively advocate on your behalf.
Call 504-345-1220 or 225-349-7460, or use our online contact form to schedule a consultation. We will review the facts of your case and provide a straightforward assessment of what you might expect as an outcome.