While most employees in the United States are considered “at-will,” there are exceptions. If you have been fired without cause, even when you have done nothing wrong, then you might have a case for wrongful termination. That is because the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and other laws protect workers from being terminated for discriminatory reasons, such as race, gender, sexual orientation, or because they contracted COVID-19.
This means workers can take legal action for wrongful termination if they are fired for any of the following reasons during the pandemic:
- Reporting Safety Issues: If you were fired for brining attention to safety concerns, such as lack of PPE, failure to enforce safety measures, or adequate social distancing, then you can file a wrongful termination claim. This includes being fired for requesting accommodation because you or a loved one are at risk of becoming severely ill from exposure to COVID-19 through the workplace.
- Using Medical Leave: Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), an employer can’t fire you for taking medical leave you are eligible for. The FMLA affords eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave if they have serious health conditions or need to care for a family member with a serious health condition. Employers must employ more than 50 employees to be covered by the FMLA.
- Following a Shelter-In-Place Order: An employer can face legal action for wrongful termination if they fire an employee for adhering to a public policy order. If your employer asks you to return to work as an “essential” employee, but you believe they are wrongly classifying your position, then reach out to Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP to discuss your situation.
- Violating Parental Rights: Because daycare centers and schools across the country had to shut down in-person learning, employed parents were forced to find alternative methods to ensure their children had access to education and were properly cared for at home while they were working. Some states have laws that protect the rights of parents in the workplace, so don’t hesitate to speak to our legal team if you believe your employer has discriminated against you for your familial status.
What Type of Damages Can I Recover for Wrongful Termination?
You can recover compensation for the following types of damages if your wrongful termination claim is successful:
- Lost Wages and Benefits: Plaintiffs in wrongful termination cases are usually awarded compensation for the earnings and employment benefits they’ve missed out on.
- Emotional Distress: In some wrongful termination cases, plaintiffs are awarded damages for the emotional distress and pain and suffering they’ve had to endure.
- Punitive Damages: In cases with egregious violations, plaintiffs can be awarded punitive damages, which are additional damages intended to punish the employer and deter them from engaging in the same misconduct in the future.
Let Our Wrongful Termination Team take a Look at Your Case Today
At Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP, we understand that being terminated from a job, for any reason, is a stressful and unsettling event. If you were fired from your job during the pandemic for a reason that violates the law, then please speak to our dedicated legal professionals immediately so we can determine all of your legal options for holding your employer accountable under the law. We regularly represent employees in wrongful termination actions and are equipped with the knowledge and cutting-edge resources that you need to protect your best interests each step of the way.
Our legal team is available to answer your questions, so please give us a call today at (646) 681-7373 or contact us online to set up your case consultation.