Sometimes, businesses, organizations, and agencies engage in practices that violate employment laws. And if you are on the receiving end of unlawful employer actions, you might be asking, “Can I be fired if I file a lawsuit against my employer?” Essentially, the answer is no.
However, an employer can have a valid reason to end your employment in the middle of a dispute, and proving that the reason for your termination was unlawful is not always easy. At Smithey Law Group, LLC, we can help you fight against wrongful termination. Our employment law attorneys are experienced leaders in the legal community who are sought out by mistreated employees and other lawyers.
What Are My Rights As an Employee?
As an employee, you have several protections under state and federal laws. Your employer must respect many of your health-related needs and provide you with a safe working environment. Your employer also must maintain a workplace free from unlawful discrimination.
Protections Against Discrimination and Harassment
More specifically, the protections you have under the law include prohibitions against an employer harassing you or making an adverse employment decision against you for one of the following reasons:
- Marital status,
- Sexual orientation,
- Making a workers’ compensation claim,
- Military status,
- Exposing or refusing to engage in illegal activity at work,
- Genetic information,
- Engaging in civic duty,
- Complaining about safety violations in the workplace,
- National origin,
- Requesting or taking family or medical leave, or
- Complaining about wage or hour violations.
If you are a victim of one of these unlawful behaviors, you have the choice of filing a lawsuit in civil court or a legal complaint with several government agencies, depending upon the nature of the claim.
Protections Against Retaliation
Do not be surprised if an employer attempts to stifle the enforcement of your rights by firing you, taking away your benefits, or threatening an adverse action. But also remember that an employer’s efforts to punish you for asserting your rights is often illegal retaliation, and you can often sue your employer for engaging in retaliatory behavior.
Hire an attorney if you need to file legal action against employer misconduct. You should also speak to an attorney if you plan to testify or submit evidence to help a coworker assert their rights. A knowledgeable attorney can handle your employment dispute and protect you from an employer’s attempts at retaliation.
Legal Remedies for Wrongful Termination or Retaliation
If you win a complaint against your employer for retaliation, you could receive the following remedies:
- Back pay,
- Compensation for related financial losses,
- Front pay,
- Compensation for emotional distress,
- Job or benefit reinstatement
- A court order for a promotion or increase of benefits at work,
- A court order for policy changes at work,
- Punitive damages, and
- Legal costs.
Hiring an attorney to handle your complaint is a vital step in receiving the maximum amount of relief available in your case.
What Should I Do When Filing a Lawsuit Against My Employer?
The best step you can take before you sue or complain about an employer is to speak to an attorney. Adjudicating an employment discrimination case can be grueling and is best handled by a skilled advocate. And if your employer punishes you for initiating a legal action, it has many defenses against a claim of unlawful retaliation. You need to be ready to combat an employer’s defenses in a hearing or at the settlement negotiation table.
Collect Evidence to Prove Misconduct and Disprove Employer Defenses
A successful claim against harassment, discrimination, or retaliation depends on persuasive evidence. From the moment you sense misconduct in your workplace, you should begin to gather proof of your employer’s illegal behavior.
Also, an employer can avoid liability in a retaliation lawsuit by insisting you were fired or punished for a lawful reason, such as poor performance. You should have an attorney’s help to combat an employer’s false claims of employee misconduct. Your attorney can help you gather evidence to combat misconduct or a claim of poor performance, including:
- Personnel records,
- Employer commendations for your work,
- Statistical evidence regarding your employer’s history of discrimination or retaliation,
- Employment agreements,
- Employer correspondence,
- Detailed notes regarding discriminatory or retaliatory events,
- Employer policies,
- Complaint records,
- Employment and education history, and
- Witness testimony.
Some of the information above is easy to collect on your own, but you will likely need the help of a skilled attorney to access all evidence that is essential to the litigation of your claim.
Timely File Your Complaint with the Proper Agency or Venue
There are multiple venues and government agencies that address workplace discrimination and retaliation, and they include:
- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission,
- Federal court,
- The Maryland Employment Standards Service,
- State court,
- The U.S. Department of Labor; and
- The Maryland Commission on Civil Rights.
The agency with which you can file a complaint depends on the nature of the discrimination or retaliation and how many employees your employer has. And the law under which you file your complaint determines how long you have to initiate your complaint. You should speak to an attorney immediately regarding your best options for protecting yourself against unlawful employer behavior.
Smithey Law Group Can Help
Our wrongful termination attorneys at Smithey Law Group are highly experienced and focus exclusively on resolving employment disputes. Our depth of knowledge regarding employment law has helped countless employees in Maryland recoup damages from employers who have engaged in illegal acts. If you have been mistreated by your employer and are seeking the help of a respected attorney, reach out to us. You can call us at 410-881-8190 or contact us online for help.