No one likes the idea of being fired from their job, but it happens all the time for a multitude of reasons. In some cases, the employee just is not a good fit for the company or is unable to meet the criteria required of the position. Under at-will employment laws, North Carolina employers are allowed to terminate an employee for any legal reason, just as any employee is allowed to quit their job at any time.
Unfortunately, however, some employers will make up false reasons to fire someone to mask the true reason, which may be discriminatory or otherwise illegal. Employees who have been terminated for illegal reasons do have some form of recourse in that they can file a wrongful termination claim against their former employer.
What constitutes an illegal reason for termination?
Termination is legally allowed for poor performance, misconduct, chronic tardiness or absences, or lack of personality fit. However, employee rights are important and need to be protected. Here are some illegal reasons to fire someone:
- Discriminatory reasons (based on their age, race, gender, or membership in another protected class).
- Firing someone due to their failure to participate in illegal activity at the request of their supervisor.
- Reporting workplace harassment.
- Whistleblowing (reporting employer’s illegal activity, safety violations, etc.)
Filing a claim against your employer
If you feel you have been wrongfully terminated, providing documentation as evidence is often the key to proving your case. Records of your performance reviews, warnings issued by the school, and various other documentation is essential. An attorney can help you navigate each step of the claims process and help you potentially recover thousands of dollars in back wages and other costs.