Losing your job can be financially and emotionally traumatic. Suddenly, you are scrambling to pay your bills, feed your family and support a lifestyle you worked hard to create and deserve to keep. Layoffs can be inevitable in a volatile manufacturing economy, but employers sometimes fire people for nefarious reasons. It is possible to hold them accountable and seek compensation if they wrongfully terminated you.
Kentucky is an at-will employment state, which means employers generally can fire workers at any time. Poor job performance, threatening another employee, stealing company property or disobeying the dress code could be legitimate reasons for termination. However, a company cannot let you go based on race, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability or pregnancy. Civil rights are not the only protections covered under employment law.
You have rights
Workers in Kentucky can pursue damages under wrongful termination and let a court decide whether their employer violated employment law. Typical claims include:
- Retaliation. You cannot be fired for reporting discrimination or providing information about someone else’s complaint.
- Public policy. You cannot be fired for refusing to break the law, like if your employer asked you to falsify business records, medical bills or lie under oath.
- Patient care. You cannot be fired for complaining about patient treatment and safety issues at hospitals or healthcare clinics.
- Taking leave. You cannot be fired for taking time off covered by the Family Medical Leave Act.
- Military service. You cannot be fired for serving overseas or being on active duty.
- Jury duty. You cannot be fired for serving on a jury or appearing as a witness in a court or administrative hearing.
If you believe your employer discriminated against you by firing you, you can file a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Or the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights.
If the agencies investigate but cannot rule whether your employer broke the law or you cannot settle the case, you can also file a civil lawsuit.
You might have a case
Workers should reach out to learn what constitutes legal and illegal termination in Kentucky to determine whether you can receive compensation if the firing was unlawful. An experienced law firm can help you preserve evidence such as payslips, hiring agreements, termination documents and witness statements from co-workers and the supervisor who fired you.
No one should lose their job because they were discriminated against or targeted for speaking up. And no one should have to fight that battle alone.