You are a dependable worker that rarely misses a day from work. You get up early, put in long and hard hours on the clock, and then savor the precious free time you have on weeknights and weekends with family. Then, one day, a supervisor approaches you and announces that you have been let go and no longer need to report for work.
The shock and horror of losing a job is difficult for most people to process. Terminated workers with families immediately find themselves with the significant burden of trying to figure out how they will provide for them. Furthermore, they lose their sense of purpose and belonging to something. The consequences are often traumatic.
Wrongful termination laws exist in America to protect workers against unjustified firings. Once you lose a job, you traditionally have a certain amount of time before the opportunity to file a lawsuit expires. This period is known as the “statute of limitations.” Every type of lawsuit has a statute of limitations, and some states observe longer or shorter periods depending on the nature of the inciting incident.
If you were unfairly fired from a job, you generally have 180 days to file a wrongful termination lawsuit. This presents you with half a year to gather evidence and discuss the details of your case with a wrongful termination lawyer.
Wrongful Termination in the United States
No one ever wants to lose a job, yet everyday people are told not to return to their former place of employment. It can be heartbreaking and stressful losing a job, particularly when you feel like the termination is unfair.
Additionally, most former workers feel confused and upset about the predicament. They fail to understand whether the termination is justified or if the employer did anything illegal. Often, they don’t think they have any legal recourse.
The source of this confusion is most states in the country are at-will for employment, including Indiana. What this means is that an employer may fire you at any time, and for any reason (or no reason at all). The primary exception is jobs that are protected by a union contract.
If your job did not have a collective bargaining agreement, it is not always simple to pursue justice through a wrongful termination lawsuit. However, that is not to suggest that it is impossible. There are many reasons an employer might try to fire you for that are illegal, even in states that observe “at-will” employment.
Victims of wrongful termination need to act quickly! The statute of limitations for most wrongful termination lawsuits is 180 days or six months. Note that, in some situations, you may have 300 days from federal or state civil rights violations to pursue a wrongful termination lawsuit.
Speaking to an attorney at Stewart & Stewart can help address any questions or concerns you have about the case before moving forward. We are available at 1 (800) 33-33-LAW for a free consultation.
Wrongful Termination Violations
Indiana is an “at-will” state in terms of employment, which makes it difficult to pursue justice for wrongful termination. Nonetheless, these violations are illegal and grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit even in an “at-will” state:
While Indiana does not require any type of work contract for employers, some choose to create their own written agreement. A written contract or another statement that promises job security is critical for many workers. Meanwhile, implied promises are not as sound in civil court proceedings yet are still worth pursuing if you have evidence of being misled during your firing.
A written contract gives you more rights than an average “at-will” employee who has not received any type of written agreement and therefore may get terminated at any point in time, for any reason. If an agreement is made in writing, then the employer must honor the terms and conditions or face a wrongful termination lawsuit as a result.
Breaches of Good Faith and Fair Dealing
Some former employees can prove that a previous employer acted unfairly through a breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing. This is a fairly common source of wrongful termination cases, so speak to an attorney if you believe your employer violated a promise.
Violations of Public Policy
Violations of public policy occur when an employer terminates an employee for reasons that society would recognize as illegitimate grounds for removal. Many state and federal laws protect workers and allow them to take time off from work to serve on a jury or vote. An employer cannot fire you if you wish to participate in these types of activities, even if you need to take time off from work to handle the responsibilities.
Discrimination and Retaliation
Federal laws are in place to protect workers from discrimination at their workplace. For this reason, an employee may not be fired for their race, age, sex, color, national origin, religion, disability, or pregnancy.
Likewise, an employer cannot fire a worker as an act of retaliation. For example, a worker who is reporting unsafe working practices as a whistleblower or attempting to receive commission may not be fired because of their actions.
Don’t Wait to File a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit—Get in Touch Today
While six months sounds like quite a long time to get your case together, you shouldn’t wait that long. Acting quickly is key to preserving evidence and creating a strong case. The wrongful termination attorneys of Stewart & Stewart are prepared to move fast and work to get the justice and compensation you deserve! Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.