Wrongful termination is the act of an employer terminating an employee for reasons that are considered unlawful. This type of firing is also sometimes referred to as wrongful dismissal or wrongful discharge.
Thankfully, Indiana is like most states in that it has laws in place that help protect workers’ rights. Wrongful termination laws help offer clarity as to what constitutes wrongful termination and what is justifiable cause for ending an employment agreement.
It is essential to make yourself aware of wrongful termination laws in Indiana to protect the rights you have in the workplace. While most jobs are considered “at-will” employment, there are circumstances in which termination is unlawful.
Wrongful Termination in Indiana
Wrongful termination laws generally revolve around the idea of at-will employment. Therefore, it is crucial to understand what designates at-will employment as well as Indiana’s wrongful discrimination laws. Understanding the laws will help you determine whether your termination is considered illegal and whether you have a justifiable reason to file a lawsuit.
Indiana is one of many states that observes the doctrine of at-will employment. What this means is that employers do not need a good reason to terminate an employee. This essentially gives the employer the right to fire their workers at any time and for just about any reason.
The law goes both ways as it also grants workers the right to quit their jobs at any time and for virtually any reason. However, there are exceptions to the rule, which makes the matter more complicated. If you are in doubt about a recent termination, it is best to contact a wrongful termination attorney in Indiana to go over the details of the firing. An attorney from Stewart & Stewart will be happy to go over the details of your case and advise you.
Exceptions to At-Will Terminations
As mentioned, Indiana is one of many states that observe at-will laws when it comes to employment. This provides the employer the right to fire an employee at any time, for any reason. The rights also extend to workers who may quit at any time, for any reason.
However, it’s important to note that there are several exceptions to at-will jobs that may result in a wrongful termination. For example, an employer cannot fire you because you need time off for jury duty or to vote. Workers have universal protected rights that override state legislation.
Furthermore, workers cannot be fired in Indiana for refusing to perform any criminal or illegal activity. The state also protects workers that are under existing contracts—workers cannot be unexpectedly terminated from contract jobs, and they are also expected to finish the agreed-upon duties before they resign.
Employers that violate employee rights are subject to wrongful termination claims and other lawsuits. Since the process does get complicated in light of the at-will doctrine, it is best to contact a local wrongful termination lawyer to discuss the details of your case.
Wrongful Termination Lawyer—Protecting Workers’ Rights
Wrongful termination laws protect workers from being mistreated at their place of employment. It is essential to make yourself aware of the following exceptions to at-will employment regulations in the event you lose a job. Your circumstances may lead you to take legal action and contact a wrongful termination attorney in Indiana.
Breach of Contract
The at-will doctrine does not apply to jobs that involve a contract. Breach of contract law applies to oral agreements, written contracts, and collective bargaining contracts in unions. It applies to any situation where a valid employment offer is made by one party and accepted by another party.
Furthermore, in some situations, guarantees that are written in employee handbooks may constitute contractual obligations even if the employee never agreed to an oral or written agreement.
An excellent example of this situation is when a handbook states that an employee is granted “three strikes” before termination may occur. A skilled wrongful termination lawyer would be able to prove in a court of law that the employer breached the contract.
The United States has federal laws to protect against discrimination in the workplace, including during the hiring or firing process.
Indiana state laws also prohibit employers from discriminating against workers due to race, sex, religious affiliation, disability, ancestry, or country of origin. Additionally, state laws also protect against age discrimination.
Business owners are not allowed to fire employees for retaliation purposes in Indiana. It means that employers cannot fire someone because they believe the employee is going to harm the business.
For example, a whistleblower employee who raises the alarm on illegal practices at a place of employment has the legal right to do so. The law protects him or her from being threatened or terminated for calling out an employer for unsafe working conditions or illegal activities.
Lastly, Indiana is among several states that observe a public policy exception to at-will employment. What this means is that employers are not allowed to terminate employees for reasons society would consider unlawful.
For example, it is unfair to fire an employee because he or she refuses to perform sexual acts. The same rule would apply to a public policy like pursuing workers’ compensation after you were injured on the job (and the employer fired you as a result).
Contact a Wrongful Termination Attorney in Indiana
Did you recently lose your job? Do you suspect you were fired for unlawful reasons? Contact a wrongful termination lawyer at Stewart & Stewart. You can reach out over the phone at 1 (800) 33-33-LAW or online for a free initial consultation. We look forward to serving you.