Losing a job is challenging, but it becomes even more so if you suspect you were wrongfully terminated. The American Civil Liberties Union believes that as many as 150,000 people are wrongfully fired every year in the United States.
In Indiana, employers generally have the right to terminate employees at will. However, they cannot do so for unlawful reasons. If you believe your termination was wrongful, you have the right to defend yourself. Therefore, you must understand what constitutes wrongful termination.
If you believe your employer terminated you due to your race, gender, age, religion, disability or any other protected class, you need to gather evidence of discrimination. This evidence could include derogatory comments made about your protected class, unequal treatment compared to other employees who are not in your protected class or a sudden change in treatment after revealing your protected status. Emails, text messages or witness testimonies can serve as valuable evidence in these situations.
Retaliation happens when an employer punishes an employee for engaging in legally protected activity. For instance, if you filed a complaint about workplace safety or reported sexual harassment, and your employer subsequently terminated you, it may constitute retaliation. To prove retaliation, you need to establish a link between your complaint and your termination. Documents showing the timeline of your complaint and the subsequent termination can be helpful in proving your case.
3. Violation of public policy
In Indiana, employers cannot terminate an employee in violation of public policy. If your employer fired you for refusing to break the law at your employer’s request or for exercising a statutory right like voting or taking family and medical leave, you might have been wrongfully terminated. Any written communication asking you to engage in illegal activities or denying you your statutory rights can serve as evidence in these cases.
4. Breach of contract
If you had an employment contract specifying the conditions under which your employer could terminate you, and your employer did not adhere to those conditions, it might constitute wrongful termination. Your employment contract and any documents demonstrating your employer’s failure to follow the contract terms can be significant in proving wrongful termination.
Proving wrongful termination can be a challenging process. By gathering the right documents, pinpointing the illegal actions of your employer and understanding the specific laws in Indiana, you can present a strong case and take a stand against wrongful termination.