As an employee in Tennessee, your job is probably both a central part of your life and your means of providing for yourself and your family. Losing your job can be devastating, especially if you were terminated.
But not all terminations or firings are legal, and you could be eligible for compensation. Employment law specifies a number of scenarios in which it’s illegal for a business to fire an employee.
Retaliatory or unfair practices
The law is strict about the legality of firing workers as retaliation for reporting illegal practices by other employees or the business itself. Whistleblower laws are on the books to protect employees from being fired for speaking up about the business violating the law.
Additionally, if you’ve experienced discrimination on the job and then are fired, especially if it’s after you spoke up about the discrimination, you may have been wrongfully terminated. Both federal and state law protects workers from all forms of discrimination. Unfair treatment due to race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability, age and a number of other protected classes are all grounds for a wrongful termination suit.
Violations of specific laws or contracts
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) mandates that employees receive unpaid but job-protected leave for certain types of medical and family issues. If you were on FMLA leave and your employer terminates you for being on leave, that’s a direct violation of the law.
Remember that being on leave doesn’t prevent you from being terminated for other reasons. But if the reason for your dismissal was being on FMLA leave, you were wrongfully terminated.
Certain employee/employer relationships are governed by formal contracts. These contracts frequently spell out the reasons why an employee may be terminated. If you work under a contract like this and are fired for unspecified or unclear reasons, your employer may be in breach of that contract.
In many cases, employers can terminate their employees for just about any reason, or no reason at all. However, there are a number of areas where employees are protected under the law, and if fired have the ability to file a wrongful termination suit.