Archive for the ‘ Wrongful Termination ’ Category

13
Apr

What Can I Expect During a Wrongful Termination Case?

April 13, 2020

If you or someone you love was fired for illegal reasons, you may be eligible for compensation in a wrongful termination case.

Working With an Experienced Employment Attorney

Proving wrongful termination is one of the most difficult types of lawsuits. That being said, working with an attorney experienced with wrongful termination can ensure that your case is strong and that you receive the full amount of compensation for which you qualify.

Types of Wrongful Termination

Among the most common types of wrongful termination is discrimination. If you can prove that the reason you were fired had something to do with your gender (including the fact that you were pregnant or became a mother), race, disability, or religion, then the courts are going to take your claim very seriously.

Secondly, if your employer broke a contract, whether written, verbal, or implied, your firing also qualifies as wrongful termination. If the contract was implied or verbal, this can be challenging to prove, but it is doable with the help of an attorney.

Thirdly, your employer is not allowed to fire you because you refused an order that would have forced you to do something illegal. Similarly, employers can’t keep you from making the right decision legally, even if it puts them in a difficult position. This is known as the public policy exception, and you are protected for obeying the law.

Lastly, another common reason for wrongful termination occurs when an employer retaliates against an employee who files for workers’ compensation or is involved in any whistleblowing activity. All employers are entitled to workers’ comp after an accident at work that leaves them unable to return to work for some time.

Indiana Is an At-Will Employment State

In the face of your wrongful termination claim, your employer will most likely point to the fact that Indiana is an at-will employment state. That means that both you and the employer may end the working relationship at any time for no reason.

However, your case is not that your employer fired you for no reason or “just cause.” Rather, your case is that your employer violated one of the clear prohibitions listed above according to wrongful termination law in Indiana.

Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Termination Claims

The time limit under which you must file your wrongful termination claim varies by the type of violation. In most scenarios, you have about six months from when you were terminated. If your wrongful termination case involved discrimination, you have three hundred days from the discriminatory actions to file your claim.

Wrongful Termination Settlements

In many cases, your employer will offer you a cash settlement to keep your case from going to trial. While it is convenient to avoid the cost and time commitment involved in a wrongful termination lawsuit, not all settlements are fair.

Make sure that you understand the full amount of damages that you are owed as a result of the wrongful termination. It should include any lost wages, lost benefits, lost commissions and even pain and suffering. You were most likely inconvenienced by having to find a new job. You may even suffer from depression and other negative effects resulting from being terminated under such terrible circumstances.

If your case goes to trial and you can prove that your employer wrongfully terminated you, you will most likely receive far more in damages. And if the employer’s behavior was bad enough, you may even qualify for punitive damages.

How Long Do Wrongful Termination Lawsuits Take?

This is always a difficult question to answer. You should prepare yourself for the process to take at least one year. Many wrongful termination cases often take a couple of years or more, but every case is different.

For more information about how an Indiana attorney can help you with your wrongful termination case, contact Stewart & Stewart Attorneys at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.

30
Mar

How Can I Prove That My Employer Fired Me Illegally?

March 30, 2020

People depend on their jobs. It’s an inevitable fact. It takes up an overwhelming amount of their time each week, provides food on the table and allows them to save for retirement.

The shock of losing a job is disconcerting for several reasons. What is even more troubling is if you feel like you got fired under questionable circumstances. How can you prove that your employer fired you illegally?

Indiana, like other states in the country, has laws that protect workers from their employers. Whether you were fired illegally or believe that the employer acted out of retaliation or discrimination, you deserve someone willing to stand up for you.

Common Reasons for Illegal Job Terminations 

No one wants to get called into the office of the boss to learn he/she is being terminated. While many job terminations are valid and for a justifiable cause, there are also plenty of questionable ones.

Every year 150,000 workers are wrongfully terminated in the country. Here are some of the most common reasons people get wrongfully fired from their job:

  • The employer violated written or implied promises. Several jobs have a specified length of time during which you can’t get fired. Violating an implied or written promise in a contract is an illegal termination.
  • You were a victim of discrimination. You are not allowed to be discriminated at work because of your race, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability and/or national origin.
  •  There was a breach of good faith and fair dealing. An example is an employee that gets terminated because the company wouldn’t have to pay a sales commission.
  • The employer violated public policy. An employer cannot fire you for taking time off to vote, for jury duty or service in the military.
  • The employer retaliated against you. An employer cannot fire you for being a whistleblower. The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) protects individuals who report health or safety concerns.
  • The employer committed fraud. A company cannot fire you for tricking you into using bad information and then forcing a resignation after the fact.
  • The employee was defamed. If your reputation or good standing in the workplace is jeopardized because of defamation, you can claim a wrongful termination lawsuit.

Keep in mind that the laws regarding wrongful termination vary from state to state. Federal laws are also in place to protect workers’ rights.

Wrongful Termination Laws

Fortunately, some laws were created in the United States to protect workers from getting fired from their job illegally. Some of the most common federal laws that may help you receive a favorable outcome in a wrongful termination lawsuit include:

  • Civil Rights Act of 1964: The landmark legislation prohibits discrimination at work based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. It includes protection both during the hiring process and after you get hired.
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967: The act prohibits age discrimination of people between the ages of 40-65. It protects seniors who may be forced to resign before they would like to stop working.
  • Civil Service Reform Act of 1978: The legislation prohibits discrimination by federal employers based on race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, marital status, political affiliation and sexual orientation.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990: The legislation makes it illegal to discriminate against qualified individuals that have disabilities.

How to Protect Your Job From an Illegal Firing 

 Most jobs in the United States are “at-will” which means the employer may terminate an employee at almost any time for almost any reason. Most jobs not under a union contract are considered “at-will” which does produce some complications for a former employee.

However, there are still ways that people get fired which are considered illegal, like retaliation or discrimination. Those that suspect or know they have been terminated because of illegal reasons should contact an experienced lawyer. 

Regardless, if you seek to get your job back or want fair compensation in a settlement, pushing back against illegal firings is your best defense. Your integrity is on the line as well as your future.

Even if the actions of the termination are not considered illegal, former employees may still go after employers for acting unfairly and unethically. If you have been fired unexpectedly, laid off, forced to retire, or otherwise compelled to resign, contact a knowledgeable lawyer for an initial consultation.

Prepare Your Defense

In the state of Indiana, wrongful termination claims may get filed in one of two ways:

(1) Through a government agency that enforces labor laws.

(2) Through a private lawsuit. 

While you prepare to speak to an lawyer, you can take a few steps to prepare for a potential lawsuit.

First, collect your employment records. You have the right to contact your former employer and request documentation, including official matters related to your termination. You can also collect reports, reviews and records from your personal file that summarize your history with the company.

Secondly, make notes while the circumstances involving the wrongful termination are fresh in your memory. Be sure to record dates, names and locations of people that were involved in the situation. It is important to document events like performance reviews, salary increases (or decreases), reprimands or commendations.

Finally, speak with a lawyer. Our qualified lawyers personally examine the details of your case, and you don’t owe us a penny until a settlement is reached. We can help you receive back pay, punitive damages, compensatory damages or job reinstatement.  

Contact us today at (800) 33-33-LAW or visit GetStewart.com.

12
Oct

What Do I Do If My Employer Owes Me Unpaid Overtime or Wages?

October 12, 2018

You worked overtime with the promise of being paid on your next pay period or a later date. But your next pay period comes—and the pay period after that—and you have yet to be paid for your work. Eventually, you realize that you may never be paid for the work you did—what can you do?

If this happens to you, you have an unpaid wage claim on your hands. The same is true for employees who are not paid the minimum wage amount in their state. When this happens, it is referred to as unpaid wages. Often, a company will pay their employees the federal minimum wage. Unfortunately for them, many states have different rates for this, and if the company is located in a state with a different minimum wage than the federal precedent, they must follow the states wage rates. Not complying with this will cause many issues and many unpaid wage claims.

Those who are tipped employees, like a waiter or waitress, have a lower minimum wage. But, there is still a set wage in each state and employers must pay that by law, no matter how much their employees tips amount up to. If an employer fails to pay the employee their base salary, that is also grounds for an unpaid wage claim.

And while unpaid wages are somewhat common, unpaid overtime is much more prevalent. Some states may have their own laws, but the federal law states that all employees (who are eligible) must be paid overtime if they work over 40 hours in one work week. An eligible employee is usually an hourly employee who is nonexempt. If you are unsure if you are eligible for overtime, be sure to ask your boss or HR department before starting a claim.

If you are eligible and you have not received overtime, you should first try to figure out how much you are owed. The law states that overtime hours must amount to time and a half of your usual pay. Add up all the overtime hours you worked and logged, and add in the extra dollar amount for those hours. This final number will give you, your attorney and your employer a better idea of how much is owed and how dire the situation is.

Unfortunately for your employer, once a claim is filed, it usually isn’t as easy as paying the employee what is owed. Some states have a liquidated damages clause, which means that your employer must pay you what you owe, plus another payment equal to what you owe for liquidated damages. This means that they will end up paying you double. This occurs only after you file a claim and your employer fails to pay you after 15 days, and usually involves a court case.

If you are not getting paid for overtime hours or your proper wage, it’s best to get an attorney involved as soon as possible to resolve the issue before it gets out of hand. At Stewart & Stewart, we are experts in unpaid wage claims and will walk you through every step to ensure you get the money you deserve. Give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information.

17
Aug

What Federal Laws Protect Workers from Wrongful Termination in Indiana?

August 17, 2018

Indiana is an at-will state, which means that employers can fire an employee at any time, for almost any reason. Because of this, employers often take advantage, firing employees for reasons that aren’t actually legal, such as discrimination.

While Indiana is at-will, there are still many laws in place to protect employees from being wrongfully terminated. Wrongful termination can mean a lot of different things: an employer breaks a contract regarding employment, an employee is fired due to discrimination, the firing took place after an employee refused to complete an illegal act or failed to come to work due to a government sanction, such as jury duty, and more.

If you are working in Indiana, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the laws put in place to protect Indiana workers.

Title 7

Title 7 is the federal law that protects employees from being discriminated against based on race, sex, religion or gender. This is one of the most important laws and is part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. While sometimes hard to prove, those who feel they are being discriminated against should keep detailed notes and hire an attorney to help them prove the violation of Title 7.

ADA

You also have the ADA, which is the Americans with Disabilities Act enacted in 1990 and protects people who have a disability. This includes people who got hurt at work and have worker’s compensation or those who have an employer that doesn’t accommodate you when you have worker’s compensation, which is a direct violation of the ADA.

FMLA

The FMLA is the Family Medical Leave Act. It can be used once you’ve been working for a company that has 50 or more employees for at least a year. If you or a close family member has a medical event, you can take leave or intermittent leave if you have a disability. This protects workers from being discriminated against for the medical event and being fired after they return from leave.

Retaliation Law

Indiana has a retaliation law, which means you can’t retaliate against an employee for doing something lawful, like getting workers compensation or filing a claim with EEOC.

If you have been wrongfully discriminated against or fired for reasons you feel are against one of these laws, contact an experienced attorney at Stewart & Stewart. Give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information.

3
Aug

What Can You Do If You Are Wrongfully Terminated in Indiana?

August 03, 2018

What Can You Do If You Are Wrongfully Terminated from my job?Indiana is an at-will state, which means that employers can fire someone for any reason. These reasons can simply be that they don’t like you, they no longer need your position, they don’t want to keep paying, or, no reason at all. But at-will does not mean that they can fire you out of discrimination. When an employer fires someone because of their protective class or activity, which includes sex, religion, pregnancy, workers’ compensation, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Environmental Protection Agency, or Medicare fraud, that is considered a wrongful termination.

An employer can’t terminate you because you’re one of those protected classes, but it doesn’t mean that just because someone may be female and doesn’t get along with their male boss that it has to do with their sex. There has to be comments or activity that happened leading up to the termination that indicate the termination has to do with them being part of that protected class. If there is no connection, the employer is right to terminate.

Document Everything

To prove that you were wrongfully terminated, you need a documented issue in regards to that protected class. There are cases where people are using derogatory words or are fired because they are pregnant, but sometimes it can be more subversive. Referring to someone of a certain race as “you people” is one example. It can be something that is not blatant at first, but if there is a pattern of behavior and that person is being treated differently form everyone else, that can show that it’s wrongful termination.

It’s better for an employee to start documenting before they get terminated. You can often feel the ground crumbling, you know when there is turmoil starting and you can feel when it’s coming your way. When this happens, begin writing things down. If you make a verbal complaint, there is no way to prove that once you are terminated. Instead, write it in an email or file a letter with HR. If they keep insisting on calling, send a follow up email recapping what was said on the call. This puts it on the employer and makes it so they can’t deny that you reported it and that these things are happening. If everything is verbal, it’s a he said she said situation, and that makes it very difficult.

File a Claim and Contact an Attorney

Once a wrongful termination happens, you should contact an attorney. You also have the option of going to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) if there is a discrimination issue. You can file a charge there first, because you can’t file a claim without filing a complaint with the agency first.

After you file a complaint, the EEOC will investigate them. This can take six months to a year for the investigation to be complete. You may have an opportunity to resolve the case at the EEOC level, but oftentimes the case gets dismissed as “right to sue” and you have 90 days to decide if you want to file in federal court.

It’s usually wise to hire an attorney to handle the EEOC charge, as there are many different aspects of filing with them. One wrong piece of information or something that is left out can lead to your case being dismissed. If you fail to hire an attorney before you do the charge, you are able to hire one after the fact, and they will be able to go in and amend anything that was wrong.

If you’ve been wrongfully terminated in Indiana, contact the experienced wrongful termination attorneys at Stewart & Stewart. Give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information.

12
Jul

3 Common Wage Disputes in Indianapolis

July 12, 2018

Common Wage disputes Here in Indiana, we have state and federal wage and hour laws that protect workers and ensure they receive fair and timely wages. The Indiana Minimum Wage Law ensures that workers are getting paid the salary or hourly wage they deserve, while the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act gives local Indiana workers the assurance that they are treated fairly while at work. Both of these laws protect workers should their employer underpay them, fail to pay overtime, or force you to work outside of your scheduled hours.

At Stewart & Stewart, we handle many cases involving wage and hour here in Indianapolis. Some of the most common are as follows.

Underpayment of Wages

In Indiana, the minimum wage is currently set at $7.25/hour or $2.13/hour for tipped employees whose tips cover the difference in minimum wage. If your employer fails to pay you this set minimum, you are entitled to a lawsuit. Being paid under this minimum makes it extremely difficult for an average person to live a sound life, pay bills, and keep a roof over their heads. Employees with families will find more trouble with this, so it’s imperative to speak with an attorney if your employer fails to pay you what you deserve.

Working Off the Clock

You may think it’s normal to be forced to work outside of regular hours without any pay. In Indiana, if you work more than 40 hours in one week, you may be entitled to additional compensation and back pay. Your employer should set hours in your contract, and if you consistently work over these hours, you should contact an attorney to help you get the compensation and overtime money you deserve.

Unpaid Commissions

Many employees rely on commissions in their jobs, especially when those commissions make up a bulk of their take home pay. Here at Stewart & Stewart, we often see cases where an employer fails to pay the full amount of the commission as highlighted in the contract. When listed in a contract, the employer becomes legally obligated to pay out these commissions in full, and the failure to do so can result in a lawsuit.

If you have been a victim of one of these wage disputes, contact an experienced wage and hour attorney today. Give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information.

Comments Off on Indiana Law Protects Employees Like You from Retaliation and Discrimination
28
Mar

Indiana Law Protects Employees Like You from Retaliation and Discrimination

March 28, 2018

Your job and your career are your livelihood, but you may feel uneasy about your future due to an injury, illness, or a situation at work that seems unethical or even illegal. There are steps you can take to obtain recourse, whether it’s filing for workers’ compensation or reporting certain activities to the proper authorities, but you may be worried about your employer finding out and firing you or even harming your career prospects.

At Stewart & Stewart, we know how stressful this time can be for workers like you. Thankfully, we also know that Indiana law protects workers in a variety of different situations and scenarios, such as:

  • Filing workers’ compensation claims – If you get hurt on the job and can’t return to work, you’re eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim. Legally, your employer isn’t allowed to dissuade you from doing so via threats, harassment, or demotions.
  • Refusing to engage in illegal activities – If you have reason to believe something illegal is occurring at your workplace, you aren’t obligated to engage in that activity, and Indiana law will protect you if you report it to state authorities.
  • Reporting dangerous work conditions – You have a right to a safe and productive workplace, and if you notice something dangerous, you should report it. If your employer finds out you reported dangerous work conditions, they can’t retaliate under Indiana’s Occupational Health and Safety Law of 1971.

If you have questions or concerns about your job and your future after an incident at work, get in touch with our Indiana wrongful termination lawyers. We’re here to help—call today for a free consultation.

Comments Off on What Compensation is Available for Wrongfully Terminated Workers?
28
Feb

What Compensation is Available for Wrongfully Terminated Workers?

February 28, 2018

Your job is your livelihood, and losing it for any reason can be devastating. Unfortunately, many workers in the U.S. and throughout Indiana lose their jobs for reasons that violate Federal law. The U.S. government has several acts and laws protecting workers from being laid off, fired, or demoted for their race, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability status, sexual orientation, and more.

At Stewart & Stewart, it’s our job to help workers who were dismissed from their jobs for reasons that violate Federal law. In our years of experience assisting hardworking people like you, we’ve learned that many victims don’t always know what to expect when they pursue claims against their former employers.

Our team of Indiana wrongful termination lawyers works hard and confidentially to help victims recover compensation for:

  • Lost wages – Workers may be eligible to recover all of the wages they lost from the date of wrongful termination until the present. Future lost wages also may be included, especially if the worker has been unable to obtain employment by the time the settlement offer occurs.
  • Lost benefits – Working full time often has benefits that go beyond salaries, including health insurance coverage and stock options. Wrongful termination settlements can and often do include those lost benefits for fired workers.
  • Emotional distress – Losing a job and a reliable income can be devastating, especially when it’s due to something you had no control over. Workers may be eligible to receive additional compensation for the distress, anxiety, and anguish they feel over the loss of their job.

Pursuing compensation from your former employer may feel intimidating, but if you were wrongfully terminated, we’re here to help. Call us today for a free consultation.

Comments Off on Fired from Your Job? You Have Rights.
28
Dec

Fired from Your Job? You Have Rights.

December 28, 2017

Although Indiana is considered an “at-will” employment state, which means both employers and employees can terminate relationships at any time, employees have rights when it comes to keeping their jobs. In fact, employers must be careful when terminating workers to avoid infringing on those rights and committing wrongful termination.

Wrongful termination refers to firing employees in violation of state law or an active employment contract. However, because employers know Indiana employment is “at-will,” they may fire workers without considering the consequences. At Stewart & Stewart, we know all aspects of Indiana employment law, and we protect the rights of workers who were terminated in manners that violated contracts or state law.

No what matter circumstances led to your job loss, it’s important to remember that you have the following rights:

  • The right to be protected from retaliation – Whether you filed for workers’ compensation, attended jury duty, or were a whistleblower, state law protects you from retaliation by your employer. If you were fired during or after the events listed above, you may be eligible to file a wrongful termination claim.
  • The right to pursue compensation – If you were wrongfully terminated, you have many options for recourse. In addition to getting compensation for your lost wages and back pay, you can also be reinstated to your job and receive additional damages for emotional suffering. Your employer also may be fined and be responsible for personal liability for any losses that you incurred.

Getting fired is a devastating and stressful experience, but sometimes, it happens in violation of the law. If you suspect that you or someone you love was wrongfully terminated, get in touch with our Indiana wrongful termination lawyers today by calling our office for a free consultation.

Comments Off on Who Should You Talk to About Employment Law Issues?
22
Nov

Who Should You Talk to About Employment Law Issues?

November 22, 2017

Being involved in an employment law dispute or dilemma can be frustrating. You may feel like your career is in jeopardy. It’s common for people in those situations to want to reach out to others, including mentors, peers, friends, and co-workers. But it’s important to remember that employment law disputes are highly sensitive matters that can benefit from the assistance, planning, and experience of an Indiana wrongful termination lawyer.

At Stewart & Stewart, we know that workers who are caught in difficult situations with their employers face many pitfalls. Whether employees are taken advantage of in their wages and salaries, denied workers’ compensation benefits, retaliated against for filing a workers’ compensation claim, or wrongfully terminated, there are many common missteps that can invalidate claims against abusive and bullying employers.

Some of the most common missteps include talking to the wrong people. To protect yourself and your rights to compensation, limit your discussion about your employment law dispute to the following parties:

  • A trusted family member – You shouldn’t keep your emotions and anxieties bottled up. Talk to your spouse, partner, parent, or another loved one about what you’re going through, but make sure he or she knows that the information should remain strictly confidential.
  • An experienced attorney – Our workplace dispute attorneys take confidentiality seriously, and we know that information leaked to employers or their insurance companies can jeopardize claims.

You shouldn’t discuss your dispute with friends, co-workers, or on social media. Instead, contact our law firm, and let us start protecting your rights. Call today for a free consultation.