You get hired on as an at-will employee. Your employer explains that it's very common and that all of the other employees have the same classification, but you still want to know what it means for you.
You can lose your job for a variety of reasons, some legal and some illegal. If you've been terminated, it's important to understand why and to focus your time on protecting your legal rights.
Your employer does not want to be accused of wrongful termination for firing you for something that breaches employment laws. Therefore, they tell you that you need to quit or take an unpaid leave. Is that still illegal?
Did you get fired, and are you wondering if that firing was actually illegal? While employers in the United States do have a lot of freedom to hire and fire employees as they see fit, that does not mean every situation adheres to the letter of the law. Here are four questions to ask if you think your employer violated your rights:
The trouble with age discrimination in the workplace is that your company may try to make it look like something else. If they deny you a promotion based on your age, they could try to blame your performance or your interview skills, for instance.
You know that you have a right to a safe workplace. You know that your employer is supposed to eliminate unnecessary dangers, give you proper training, provide personal protection equipment and much more.
It is not always simple to know when or if you can challenge your termination from work, especially if you are employed at-will. An overly simplistic understanding of at-will employment may lead many people to think that an employer can simply fire an employee for any reason without recourse, but this is not the case.
While some employers offer generous benefits packages that include personal allowances to take time off for many reasons, nearly all employees may take time off for certain protected reasons, according to federal law. If an employee requests unpaid time off for one of these protected reasons, the employer must allow it in most instances, and may not retaliate against an employee who enforces his or her rights.
With the recent emphasis on discrimination in the workplace that has dominated the news over the past year, it's a wonder that any employer would risk the legal and financial consequences of a discriminatory firing, but that doesn't seem to be stopping some. You may find yourself suddenly out of a job for reasons that are either unclear or don't seem to align with the facts as you known them, and may have grounds to believe that your own termination is actually discriminatory.
If you see something illegal occur at the workplace, you have a responsibility to report it to the proper authority, known as whistleblowing. However, in many instances, your employer may not want you to report it, and may attempt to dissuade you or punish you for following your conscience. In some extreme instances, an employer may even fire you.