Trusted Silver Spring Wrongful Discharge Attorney Ready To Assist You
With the rejuvenation efforts over the last several years, downtown Silver Spring is an exciting place to be. Along with our famous parks and recreation, we now have an array of new businesses, shopping venues like Beacon Market, restaurants, and more that can be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. And with a steady stream of events like the Silver Spring Jazz Festival and the Silver Spring Blues Festival, you can always find something for the family to enjoy.
But despite our many attributes, some residents still experience the pain of wrongful discharge from their employer. This can turn your world upside down if you let it. So if you find yourself in such a situation, an experienced Silver Spring wrongful discharge lawyer at the Smithey Law Group can help you put your life back on track.
Wrongful Discharge in an “At-Will” Work State
If you are aware that Maryland is an “at-will” work state, you may wonder what could possibly constitute wrongful discharge. After all, “at-will” means that your employer essentially can fire you for any reason (or no reason at all) – just as you can leave your job for any reason. So what can be “wrongful” if it is all fair game?
We’re so glad you asked. The foundation for a wrongful discharge claim can be:
- The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its later expansions at both the state and federal level;
- A specific, individualized express or implied employment contract; or
- A violation of public policy.
Let’s look a bit more closely at each of these, starting with the last one.
Violation of Public Policy
If you believe that your termination was against public policy, you need to speak to an experienced wrongful discharge lawyer as soon as possible. Public policy is essentially a set of standards that we adhere to for the good of the public. These are generally considered to be accepted standards for how people should behave that is in the best interest of all people within a community.
Violations of public policy as it relates to employment can take on any number of forms.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation or Harassment Claim
Essentially, the law prohibits employers from retaliating against employees based on the assertion of their rights. So if someone files for workers’ compensation or files a sexual harassment claim (or any other whistleblower type claim) against a company, public policy says that the company cannot retaliate by terminating that employee. Public policy dictates that people should be given the ability to file suit against an abusive employer without threat of retaliation. As you can see, this is a very important protection for society as a whole.
Asserting Their Rights to Minimum Wage and/or Overtime Pay
When an employee objects to being paid under what the law allows, they cannot be fired. Since minimum wage and mandatory overtime pay are the law, enforcing it requires that workers are free to speak up when an employer attempts to short-change them.
Safe Work Environment
The safety of workers is of paramount importance in any industry, so laws have been passed to protect workers’ health and well-being. If an employee is aware of safety threats to himself or others, he must be free to bring it to the attention of his company without reprisal. And if the company refuses to fix the issue, the next step is to bring it to the attention of a judge. Any retaliation would have a chilling effect on these reports of safety hazards, and are therefore not allowed under the law.
Employees cannot be forced to engage in or go along with any illegal acts being perpetrated by their employer. Any request by the employer (or by management) to go along with such acts is also illegal and should be reported. This can be very scary for an employee who is relying on said company for their livelihood, so the law chooses to protect whistleblowers rather than silence them.
Breach of Express or Implied Contract
During the hiring process, contracts may be made. They can take the form of an actual, physical contract (express contract) or an implied contract (oral contract made at the time of hire). Now most express contracts for employees are boiler-plate and not individualized. These types of one-size-fits-all contracts are really not the express contract that we are talking about. We’re speaking of an individualized contract created specifically for a certain position, job, or person. When a contract like this is signed upon hiring, it generally supersedes the at-will nature of the job and its clauses will be upheld in court as long as no clause is against public policy.
Likewise, if an employer makes certain oral representations to the applicant during the hiring process, that will be looked at as an implied contract even in the absence of a written document. These representations can also be enforceable.
Cannot Be Terminated for Discriminatory Reasons
There are certain classes of persons that are protected under our constitution, and under the laws of the state. So in Maryland it is illegal to discriminate or fire anyone due to their inclusion in a protected class. Some of these protected classes are race, age, marital status, sex, genetic status, religion, sexual preference, or sexual orientation, among others.
When You Need to Assert Your Rights, Our Attorney is Here for You
We at the Smithey Law Group stand ready to fight for you. If you think you may have been wrongfully fired, let us look over your case and help you determine if you have the basis for a wrongful termination suit. Allow our Silver Spring wrongful discharge attorney to put their decades of experience helping others in similar situations to work for you. We will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. So call us now, or contact us online to schedule your free consultation today.