North Carolina Wrongful Termination
When an employee gets fired or laid off, one of the first thoughts is often, "Did my employer have the right to terminate me?" Because North Carolina is an at-will employment state, a company often does have the right to dismiss an employee. In instances when a company doesn't have that right, it's known as a wrongful termination or wrongful dismissal. An employment lawyer or wrongful termination attorney can help you take legal action against your former employer if you think you've been wrongfully dismissed from your job.
When Is it Illegal to Terminate an Employee?
There is no single law that makes it illegal for a company to wrongfully terminate a worker. Instead, there are a collection of laws that make certain types of wrongful dismissals illegal. In other instances, a termination may be a violation of a contract.
One of the most common types of wrongful dismissal occurs when an employee is the victim of discrimination and terminated for discriminatory reasons. Under federal and North Carolina law, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against workers on the basis of:
- Age (if the worker is at least 40 years old)
- Race and skin color
- National origin
- Genetic information
If you think you were wrongfully terminated for discriminatory reasons, your attorney can help you file a discrimination claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
It is also against the law for an employer to fire a worker in retaliation for an employee’s exercising a right granted to them by law. This would include terminating an employee for reporting for jury duty or filing a workers' compensation claim.
If you have a written employment contract and are terminated in violation of that contract, you may have grounds to file a breach of contract case against your former employer in North Carolina civil court. Similarly, if you're a union member and were terminated in violation of your union's collective bargaining agreement, you may be able to file a grievance with your union. An employment attorney can help you understand your legal options.
Find & Hire Local North Carolina Wrongful Termination Attorneys
Whether you live in Charlotte or Raleigh, Winston-Salem or Durham, or elsewhere in North Carolina, Attorneys.com can help you locate wrongful termination lawyers and employment attorneys in your area. To use our free lawyer referral service, fill out the form on this page or call us at 877-913-7222.