Washington State is an “at-will” employment state, which means that employers are allowed to fire employees for any reason, so long as the reason isn’t prohibited by law (discussed below). Still, employees are terminated around the state for reasons that are not only unethical, but illegal.
If you believe you were wrongly terminated, speak to an attorney to know your legal rights.
Terminations Considered Wrongful
Employers may have the right to terminate workers under many circumstances, but employees have rights, as well, which should not be infringed upon. Being fired for the following causes may be considered a wrongful termination in Washington:
- complaining about sexual harassment;
- discrimination based on age, gender, genetics, sexual orientation; ethnicity, religion, or disability;
- missing work for jury duty or under the terms of an employment contract;
- retaliation for whistle blowing; or
- filing a claim for workers’ compensation.
If you were terminated for any of the above reasons, you might be able to file a suit against your employer to recover damages. You may also be able to bring a claim against your employer if:
- there was a company termination procedure, but the company failed to follow the protocols; or
- the employer violated terms in the employment contract.
Two Important Elements to Satisfy Wrongful Termination Claims
In order to bring a successful claim against your employer, the following two elements must be true:
- An unlawful cause for termination – the reason the company terminated you must be unlawful, not necessarily just unethical or unfair. What is and isn’t considered wrongful termination under the law can be determined by your lawyer; ethical isn’t always synonymous with legal. For instance, it may seem unethical for a company to fire you for refusing to work mandatory overtime week after week, but it’s not necessarily illegal.
- Actual damages – you must have suffered demonstrable loss or harm as the result of being terminated. Clear evidence will be required to substantiate your case. Your attorney can explain what types of evidence are admissible and how to go about collecting the information.
To determine whether or not you have a valid case against your employer for wrongful termination, your first step will be to consult an attorney for a case evaluation.
Compensable Damages for Wrongful Termination Cases
If you are, in fact, a victim of wrongful termination, there are several types of damages for which you may be eligible, including:
- lost wages;
- lost benefits (medical insurance, dental insurance, 401(k) plans, pension plans, profit sharing, etc.);
- emotional distress; and
- attorney’s fees.
Your lawyer will help you decide if litigation is cost effective.
Legal Help for Wrongful Terminations in Everett, Washington
If you believe you have been wrongly discharged and want to discuss your legal options, contact the attorneys at Deno Millikan in Everett. Contact our office today to schedule case evaluation today: (425) 259-2222.