Wrongful Discharge Lawyers in Charleston
Wrongful Discharge and Constructive Discharge in West Virginia & North Carolina
The workplace is where we spend most of our lives. When we lose a job, we not only lose income and benefits, we lose economic security, we lose the long relationships we have built with co-workers, and sometimes, we lose our self-esteem. Discharge can be unlawful in both West Virginia and North Carolina for a number of reasons. It is unlawful if your employer engages in discrimination based on a protected characteristic such as your age, gender, sex, national origin, ethnicity, religion, disability, pregnancy or military status.
It is also unlawful where your employer is motivated to terminate your employment because you filed for workers’ compensation or for a reason that violates a substantial public policy. If an employer makes working conditions so intolerable that an employee has no choice but to quit, it is called "constructive discharge" and may also be unlawful.
Contact Hughes & Goldner, PLLC today at (855) 217-2599 to speak with a Charleston employment law attorney about your situation.
Understanding the Terms of Wrongful Discharge
North Carolina and West Virginia are at-will states, which means that you can be fired at virtually any time for any reason. However, there are still protections under the law which prevent employers from firing you based on an unlawful reason.
A few examples of circumstances that may count as wrongful discharge include:
- Retaliation after you have reported, or refused to engage in, unlawful activity
- Retaliation after you have notified a federal or state agency of unlawful activity
- Retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim
- Retaliation for harassment/discrimination complaints
- Being fired based upon your race, age, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, pregnancy, or military status, or other protected categories
- Being fired in breach of an employment contract
Being fired for a reason that would violate a substantial public policy. Examples include the following:
- When an employee seeks to cooperate with authorities in a federal investigation;
- When an employee seeks to testify truthfully;
- When an employee objects to violations of wage laws;
- When an employee objects to violations of banking laws or other laws.
What Is Constructive Discharge?
If you would have a legal claim for unlawful discharge if you were fired, sometimes your employer tries to avoid the legal claim by causing you to quit instead. If your employer makes your work environment so intolerable because of harassment, or changes the terms and conditions of your employment, such that any reasonable person would quit, you may be subject to a “constructive discharge.” However, quitting a job without adequate justification may affect your legal rights. You should consult an employment law attorney prior to quitting your job to determine if your circumstances might qualify as a constructive discharge.
Please give us a call today at (855) 217-2599 to discuss your claim.