Under both Kentucky and Indiana law, the topic of wrongful termination is quite complicated and is often confusing to people who believe they have been terminated in violation of their legal rights. At Charles W. Miller & Associates, we receive many calls from people who want to bring claims against former employers on this basis.
Wrongful termination claims are very fact-specific, with legal rights that depend heavily on individual circumstances. If you believe that your employer has wrongfully fired you, a knowledgeable Louisville wrongful termination lawyer at our firm can review your case, help you understand your rights, and work with you to pursue any legal claims that may be available to you.
For a free and confidential case evaluation, contact Charles W. Miller & Associates online or by phone at (502) 890-9954. We have more than 25 years of experience and are ready to answer your questions.
What Is Considered Wrongful Termination in Kentucky?
A wrongful termination claim in Kentucky is a very specific way for a former employee to bring a lawsuit against an employer for being fired.
Wrongful termination can include the following:
- Firing in violation of anti-discrimination laws
- Termination as a mode of sexual harassment
- Firing in retaliation of written and oral employment agreements
- Firing in negligence of labor laws
- Termination in retaliation for a complaint or claim against the employer filed by the employee (whistle-blower)
The following situations are all legal and legitimate reasons to dismiss an employee, they include:
- Mass layoff
- Weak performance
- Cutbacks in force
- Action that is the fault of the employee
What Does "At-Will" Employment Mean?
Indiana and Kentucky are known as “at-will” employment states, meaning that employers have a wide range of discretion regarding employees who do not have an employment contract and are not members of a union. Employers may fire or demote at-will employees for almost any cause—or even no cause at all. Exceptions include protections against discriminatory or retaliatory firings and terminations that violate employers’ own established policies. Wrongful termination is very difficult for a former employee to prove in the absence of a violation of an employment policy, contractual term, or most commonly a statutory provision.
Contractual Employment and Union Agreements
If an employment contract includes provisions for the duration of employment or conditions for termination by the employer, an employee may have a claim for breach of contract if the employer does not abide by the contractual terms.
Employees who are members of a union that has a collective bargaining agreement with an employer have rights against terminations that do not follow the terms of the agreement. If you believe that your rights were violated under your union agreement, your union will have a “grievance” procedure you can follow and which will allow your union to take action on your behalf. However, if your union does not believe your case has enough merit, it may not pursue your claim beyond filing the grievance against your employer. This is allowed as long as your union has adequately investigated your case.
While it is important to pursue the union grievance process before taking action in court, if you feel you are in need of an advocate for your rights, a skilled employment attorney at Charles W. Miller & Associates can evaluate your case and help you identify your legal options.
Discrimination and Retaliation
Employers may not discriminate against employees based on certain protected categories. These categories vary from state to state, and individual cities may have their own anti-discrimination laws.
Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination based on:
- National origin
It is unlawful for an employer to take any adverse employment action, including termination, against an employee in violation of these anti-discrimination standards.
Similarly, many state and federal laws also prohibit employers from retaliating against an employee, including through termination, for asserting rights available to them under state or federal law. This could include reporting unsafe working conditions or workplace harassment or making use of family medical leave. Therefore, even if you are an at-will employee, your employer cannot fire you to punish or retaliate against you for exercising these rights.
Steps to Take If You Believe You Have Been Wrongfully Terminated
If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated, it is critical that you protect your legal claim.
This requires you to do certain things and refrain from other things, including the following:
- Do not retaliate against your employer. Though you may rightfully and legitimately feel that your employer has taken unacceptable and even illegal actions against you, retaliating will not help.
- Do not let your employer intimidate you. Do not sign anything until you have had an opportunity to review it with your own attorney.
- Do contact Charles W. Miller & Associates’ legal team for advice regarding your potential claim.
- Do locate a copy of your employment contract, if applicable.
- Do ask your employer why you are being fired.
- Do get your attorney’s help to negotiate a severance package.
- Do follow through on all agreements, oral or written, related to your termination and get written confirmation.
- Do return any company property and complete any other standard post-employment procedures.
Our Louisville Wrongful Termination Attorneys Can Help! Call (502) 890-9954 for a Free Review.
State and federal laws protect employees in Kentucky and Indiana from many types of employment discrimination, retaliation, and other wrongful acts by employers. If you have been wrongfully terminated by your employer, you should seek the assistance of an experienced employment law attorney who can help you assert your rights to lost wages and other damages. An attorney can also help you negotiate a severance package if appropriate in your case.
At Charles W. Miller & Associates, our founding attorney, Charles Miller, has been helping workers in Indiana and Kentucky with their employment and labor law needs since 2000.
- At Will Employment And Wrongful Termination
- Wrongful Termination and “At-Will” Employment in Kentucky and Indiana
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- Disability Discrimination in the Workplace Leads to Termination
Contact us online today or call (502) 890-9954 to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a Louisville wrongful termination attorney at our firm.
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