Experienced Frederick Wrongful Discharge Attorney Ready To Serve You
Frederick, MD, is a fascinating combination of the past meeting the present. With Civil War-era architecture everywhere you look, visiting this city is an education unto itself. But for those who live there, it is so much more. Frederick’s dynamic location – less than an hour away from Baltimore, Gettysburg, and Washington, D.C. – attracts visitors year-round and makes it a great place to live. Our many wine tours, museums, galleries, specialty shops, and theatres combine with breathtaking landscapes to give our city its character. Events such as the Summer Concert Series at Baker Park BandShell, Gaver Farms Fall Festival, and Frederick’s Oktoberfest provide outdoor fun for residents and visitors alike.
But if you’ve experienced the trauma of being fired for all the wrong reasons, you need the help of an excellent wrongful discharge attorney in Frederick, MD. We here at the Smithey Law Group have decades of experience and stand poised to help you when you need it most.
What Exactly Is “Wrongful Termination”?
To understand what wrongful termination is, we must first discuss the meaning of “at-will” employment. Maryland is an “at-will” employment state, as are many other states in our country. At-will employment basically means that an employer can let a worker go for almost any reason or no reason at all. This may sound a bit chilling, but it is a consolation that it works both ways. Just as employers can fire a person for no reason, so can employees walk away from a job for any reason. There are exceptions, however, so let’s discuss them.
What Are the Exceptions to the At-Will Employment Law?
When we say that an employer in an at-will jurisdiction can fire someone for any reason or no reason at all, bear in mind that there are exceptions.
The 1964 Civil Rights Act
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 essentially created “protected classes” of individuals for whom discrimination, in its many forms, is illegal. This is a Federal Law that applies to all states as well. These protected classes were forged out of years of oppression experienced by certain segments of our society. The Civil Rights Act served to protect these people from discrimination and to give them a remedy when they are treated unfairly. This Act and its protected classes were later expanded by both the Federal and State government.
For instance, it is now illegal in Maryland to fire a person based upon:
- National Origin,
- Marital Status,
- Family Responsibilities,
- Genetic Status,
- Political Opinion,
- Sexual Orientation,
- Gender Identity, or
There are many ways in which these anti-discrimination laws can be violated by employers. The two most obvious ways of discriminating based on these protected classes are to refuse to hire or to fire someone because of their status in a protected class. This is obvious discrimination and must be stopped at its roots. However, other forms of discrimination may be harder to quantify but are just as illegal.
Companies can discriminate during the recruitment process in a number of ways. The way in which they advertise open positions in itself can be discriminatory. For instance, they may only publish their job openings in places more likely to be seen by certain sex or race, or they may use discriminatory language in their actual job listing. They can also use discriminatory decision-making tactics.
How a company handles promotions may indicate discrimination. There can be a pattern that becomes apparent over time, or the discriminatory practice can be clear from the start.
Altering Terms of Employment
Certain conditions of employment can be based on prejudicial motives. So if the conditions of your employment – like the amount of compensation, your benefits, etc., – are different than your co-workers, take a close look to see if there is any indication that you were singled out based on your age, sex, or being a member of any other protected class.
Employers need to make accommodations for the religious beliefs of their employees as well as for disabilities and other needs. To fail to do so is considered discrimination.
If an employer discriminates against an employee based on any of these criteria, they can be subject to a lawsuit where the victim can seek financial compensation for the harm caused. In other words, companies can be made to pay if they engage in discriminatory practices within the workplace. This Act protects against discrimination in the hiring process, the working environment, the promotional process, and the termination process. Let a qualified Frederick wrongful discharge lawyer at Smithey Law Group LLC answer all your questions.
Breach of Actual or Implied Contract
Another exception to the at-will status of employment in Maryland would be when there is an employment contract involved. Not many employees have a specific, individually-based employment contract. But for those who do, there may be clauses that dictate what constitutes a proper basis for firing. As long as these clauses are not against public policy, they are enforceable. And if they are violated, it could form the basis for a cause of action. This would be an example of an actual, physical contract.
However, there can also be an implied contract. Such a contract would be formed where an employer makes certain assertions during the hiring process that forms the basis upon which the employee accepted his or her position. For instance, if an employer told an employee that they would be able to keep their job as long as “the job gets done.” Even if this is not written anywhere, it could form the basis for a lawsuit should it be violated.
Violation of Public Policy
Courts will not want to enforce any firing that is against public policy. For instance, if a worker got fired because they refused to work in an unsafe environment or refused to engage in requested illegal activity, they would have a cause of action for a wrongful termination suit.
Hire an Experienced Frederick Wrongful Discharge Attorney
If you suspect that you have been fired wrongfully, it is in your best interest to speak to an experienced Frederick wrongful discharge lawyer in Frederick, MD, as soon as possible. We can explain your legal rights to you, and see that you get the compensation you deserve. Call us directly, or contact us online to schedule your free consultation today.