Month: March 2018

Written Promises and Wrongful Termination

Written Promises and Wrongful Termination

If you have a written contract or other statement that promises you job security, you have a strong argument that you are not an at-will employee.

For example, you may have an employment contract stating that you can only be fired with good cause or for reasons stated in the contract.

Or, you may have an offer letter or other written document that makes promises about your continued employment. If so, you might be able to enforce those promises in court.

David Payab, Esq. from The Law Offices of Payab & Associates can be reached @ (800) 401-4466 or by visiting http://payablaw.com

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Wrongful Termination: Was Your Firing Illegal?

Wrongful Termination Was Your Firing Illegal

If you’ve been fired from your job, how do you know if the termination was legal or illegal (called “wrongful termination”)?

Most employment is “at will,” which means an employee may be fired at any time and for any reason or for no reason at all (as long as the reason is not illegal).

But there are some important exceptions to the at-will rule—and legal remedies—that may help you keep your job or sue your former employer for wrongful termination.

David Payab, Esq. from The Law Offices of Payab & Associates can be reached @ (800) 401-4466 or by visiting http://payablaw.com

Damages Available for Retaliation and Whistleblowing Claims – Part II

Damages Available for Retaliation and Whistleblowing Claims - Part II

In some cases, you might also be entitled to damages for “pain and suffering,” for the emotional and physical harm caused by your employer’s actions.

Punitive damages, intended to punish your employer for particularly egregious misconduct, may also be available.

And, in some whistleblower cases, you might be eligible for a fee or bounty for protecting the public from wrongdoing. (This might be a set amount per violation, a percentage of the total sanction against the employer, or some other amount determined by the statute or the court.)

Your lawyer can explain how much you might expect to win in your case.

David Payab, Esq. from The Law Offices of Payab & Associates can be reached @ (800) 401-4466 or by visiting http://payablaw.com

Damages Available for Retaliation and Whistleblowing Claims – Part I

Damages Available for Retaliation and Whistleblowing Claims - Part I

How much you might collect if you win a retaliation or whistleblowing case depends on the basis and strength of your claims. For most wrongful termination cases, a winning employee can ask for:

back pay: wages and benefits you lost as a result of being wrongfully fired
reinstatement or front pay: you can ask the court to give you back your job or, if that’s not feasible, to award you the wages you will lose going forward until you find a new job

out-of-pocket losses: any expenses you had to pay as a result of being fired, such as the cost of searching for a new job, and attorneys’ fees and court costs.

David Payab, Esq. from The Law Offices of Payab & Associates can be reached @ (800) 401-4466 or by visiting http://payablaw.com

If You Were Fired for Whistleblowing or Retaliation – Part II

If You Were Fired for Whistleblowing or Retaliation - Part II

A lawyer will review all of the facts, explain your potential claims, and estimate how much your claims might be worth. A lawyer can also help you decide on the best strategy to vindicate your rights, whether through negotiating with your employer, filing a complaint with a government agency, or going to court.

You may be concerned about how you will pay a lawyer to represent you.

Depending on your claims, a lawyer may be willing to take your case on a contingency fee basis. This means the lawyer is paid only if you win, out of the money you receive through a court award or a settlement with your employer. Some retaliation statutes include an attorneys’ fees provision, requiring a losing employer to pay the winning employee’s legal fees.

You should receive a written explanation of how your lawyer will charge fees at the outset of your working relationship.

David Payab, Esq. from The Law Offices of Payab & Associates can be reached @ (800) 401-4466 or by visiting http://payablaw.com

If You Were Fired for Whistleblowing or Retaliation – Part I

If You Were Fired for Whistleblowing or Retaliation - Part I

If your employer fired you for reporting illegal behavior or exercising your legal rights, you may be able to sue for wrongful termination.

Retaliation and whistleblowing claims can be legally complicated. The rules for bringing these claims may vary from state to state, as explained above. An experienced lawyer can help you determine whether you have a claim based on a specific statute or a violation of public policy.

Prepare for your first meeting by creating a timeline of events: what led up to your complaint or your report, when you complained or tried to exercise your rights, and what happened as a result.

To prove retaliation or whistleblowing, you must show that you were fired because of your complaint or report.

Timing is crucial: The less time between your complaint and your employer’s negative action against you, the stronger your claim is. You’ll also have to show that the person who decided to fire you knew of your protected activities.

David Payab, Esq. from The Law Offices of Payab & Associates can be reached @ (800) 401-4466 or by visiting http://payablaw.com

What’s Whistleblowing? Part II

What's Whistleblowing Part II

Some states also have laws that allow employees to sue their employers for wrongful termination in violation of “public policy.”

These types of claims may include protection from termination for a variety of reasons that the public would find morally wrong. However, state laws vary as to the specific type of activity that is protected. For example, some states allow public policy claims only if a state law explicitly provides whistleblower protection (for example, a state law protecting nurses who report unsafe conditions at hospitals).

Other states allow public policy claims whenever an employee reports a violation of a law that was intended to protect the public. You’ll need to talk to an experienced employment lawyer to find out whether you can bring this type of claim in your state for the legal violation you reported.

If you are fired for refusing to engage in illegal behavior, you may also have a wrongful termination claim.

David Payab, Esq. from The Law Offices of Payab & Associates can be reached @ (800) 401-4466 or by visiting http://payablaw.com

What’s Whistleblowing? Part I

What's Whistleblowing Part II

Whistleblowing occurs when an employee reports illegal conduct at work that is not related to workplace rights.

For example, you are a whistleblower if you report that your company is cooking the books; engaging in shareholder fraud; producing faulty, dangerous, or mislabeled products; or lying on its tax returns.

An employer may not fire an employee for blowing the whistle on certain illegal activity. Some laws that prohibit certain types of unethical or illegal corporate behavior explicitly protect employee whistleblowers.

For example, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, passed in 2002 to protect investors from corporate financial wrongdoing, includes whistleblower protections for employees who report financial irregularities and shareholder fraud.

David Payab, Esq. from The Law Offices of Payab & Associates can be reached @ (800) 401-4466 or by visiting http://payablaw.com

Most Common Laws Protecting Workers from Retaliation – Part II

Most Common Laws Protecting Workers from Retaliation - Part II

Here are some other of the most common laws protecting workers from retaliation:

Leave laws. You can’t be fired for exercising your right to take leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act or similar state laws, to take workers’ compensation leave, to take time off to vote or serve on a jury, to take paid sick leave, or to take any other legally protected time off work.

Health and safety laws. You may not be fired for reporting, whether within your company or to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, health and safety violations at your workplace.

Worker’s compensation laws. Your employer may not fire or otherwise penalize you for filing a workers’ compensation claim for an on-the-job injury.

David Payab, Esq. from The Law Offices of Payab & Associates can be reached @ (800) 401-4466 or by visiting http://payablaw.com