Our readers may be aware that in Kentucky, most employees are employed under “at-will” terms. This means that the employer or the employee can terminate employment for any reason, or no reason. However, as with most areas of the law, there are many exceptions to the rule, which are important to know, especially during the current state of affairs. For at-will employment, one exception is that the employer may not terminate an employee for discriminatory reasons or for retaliation. If this does occur, the terminated employee may have a valid wrongful termination claim.
These types of legal claims, however, can be difficult to pursue. An employee who brings such a claim must have solid evidence that the termination of employment was, in fact, a violation of the law in Kentucky. In many cases, this is easier said than done, which can be disheartening for employees and may sway them to just “move on.” But, with the right legal information, a wrongful termination claim may be successful.
Take, for example, a claim that is based on discrimination. There are many types of discrimination that might occur in the workplace, including discrimination based on race, gender, age, pregnancy or even disability. Such a claim of discrimination would typically be reported to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for a preliminary investigation. A termination that is retaliatory, on the other hand, may have resulted because the employer didn’t like a lawful act that an employee was entitled to do, such as take medical leave under the Family Medical Leave Act or even serve on temporary military duty. Such retaliation may be unlawful.
So, the answer to the question “Do you have a wrongful termination claim” is a complicated one. However, if you believe you have been terminated from employment for a reason that is discriminatory or retaliatory, it may be useful to get more information about the legal options in your own unique situation.