At Will Workers Are Protected Against Discrimination
Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) May 13, 2014 - Unless an employment contract exists, an individual is likely an “at-will” worker. An “at-will” worker may be terminated virtually anytime, for any reason.
“Although an at-will worker may be fired just about anytime and for many reasons, those reasons must not be discriminatory. If you were fired for discriminatory reasons, this is wrongful termination and you need to seek the services of a competent employment attorney. If you have been wrongfully terminated, you have solid legal protection offered by the federal government,” points out well-known Chicago employment attorney, Timothy Coffey.
Discrimination may come in many forms, such as age, national origin, skin color, race, religious beliefs, age, or disability. Being fired because of a worker’s sexual orientation is not protected under federal law. However, many local and state discrimination laws exist to protect transgendered individuals, gays, bisexuals, and lesbians.
“It’s important for employees to understand that they are protected from discrimination in the workplace and also protected if they are fired because they filed a discrimination complaint or if they filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Even if you were let go in a mass layoff, if you can prove you were targeted for discriminatory reasons, you may succeed in your lawsuit,” Coffey says.
Employees who work for a company are protected from discrimination in the workplace, as are federal government workers, with a few exceptions. Federal workers are protected from being fired based on their marital status, political affiliations, sexual orientation and parental status. For those who are not employed by the federal government, their recourse to pursue legal action may be to file a complaint with the EEOC. Once the complaint has been investigated and the conclusion is the person was wrongfully terminated, the EEOC attempts to negotiate a settlement with the employer. Settlement terms may include lost wages, compensation for suffering, a penalty for the employer, and/or reinstatement.
“Wrongful termination is a complex legal area,” adds Coffey “and each case is different. When in doubt about whether or not you have been wrongfully fired, speak to an experienced employment attorney. You have specific legal rights. Find out what they are to protect yourself.”
THE COFFEY LAW OFFICE, P.C.
351 W. Hubbard Street, Suite 602
Chicago, IL 60654
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