If a person has been fired from a job, was that person really the problem or were they wrongfully terminated? After taking a good hard look at oneself, willing to accept any uncomfortable truths, yet still coming away with the belief that work performance was up to par, perhaps the truth is that a business owner performed an act of wrongful employment termination.
Wrongful Termination Happens
It is not uncommon for wrongful termination to occur as an act of discrimination due to one’s gender, religion, or ethnicity. There are laws protecting people from such discrimination.
Gender based discrimination is more complex today than a simple male/female dispute. Such cases can also involve issues of sexual orientation or gender identity. However, there are employers who continue to terminate a woman’s employment because she becomes pregnant or doesn’t fit in with a male dominated work environment.
It seems obvious to most employers that, regardless of their own personal faith and beliefs, they are not allowed to discriminate against people of other religions. Most businesses recognize the rights of traditional religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. Although the rights of practitioners of these faiths are protected in all workplaces, those who engage in more obscure religions, such as Wicca, or practice taboo religions, like VooDoo, often experience discrimination and harassment on the job in addition to wrongful termination. However, protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are even workers who practice religions that may bear the mark of social stigma.
Although one would hope that the United States has evolved past the wrongfulness of workplace practices that discriminate against a person based on their ethnicity, the reality is that wrongful termination because of race still happens. Even in large companies where surely they would know better, especially considering that they have a high profile in the public eye, the average American would think that racial discrimination would have been eradicated. However, as recently as 2014 broadcast network CNN was named in a race based wrongful termination lawsuit with the complainant seeking $5 million in damages.
What to do if you are wrongfully terminated
Chances are a wrongful termination didn’t appear out of thin air. It may be that a victim suffered acts of discrimination and harassment over a period of time while still on the job. Some of these may have been overt and obvious. Other acts may have been more subtle as in a word spoken here, something implied or insinuated over there. If a person believes that discriminatory attitudes are in play within the workplace, small business experts advise that the most important thing to do is to begin documenting everything. Not only is accumulated data helpful to successfully argue a case, it empowers a victim to begin taking control of a situation from the perspective of seeking resolution.
In addition to documenting events, search for anything that might corroborate what is going on. This could be records related to schedules, promotions, memos, etc. There may also have been witnesses present when discriminatory acts were performed or biased words were spoken.
After gathering documentation it is time to follow procedural guidelines for internal reporting of discrimination. This may mean reporting directly to a supervisor or visiting a company’s Human Resources department. A complaint should result in a written report. Written reports should be followed up with an investigation.
If an internal investigation does not provide satisfactory results, or a termination of the complainant occurs, it is time to take matters to the federal government level and retain legal counsel. Discrimination is reported to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). A qualified attorney will become the victim’s advocate.
Find A Highly Rated Minnesota Employment Attorney
If you’ve lost your job and believe termination was wrongful due to a violation of your Civil Rights, please contact us. Experienced in litigating aggressively on behalf of our clients, you can be confident that your rights will be defended in pursuit of a satisfactory remedy to your grievance.