Have you recently lost your job? If so, you might be wondering whether you have grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit. In Massachusetts, as in other states, employees work at will. This means an employee can generally be fired at any time and for any reason, or for no reason at all. But there are some exceptions to the at-will rule. If your Massachusetts employer fires you for discriminatory reasons, in violation of an employment contract, or in retaliation for exercising your rights, for example, you may have a legal claim against your employer for wrongful termination.
Generally, a termination is unlawful if it is based on discrimination for being part of a “protected class,” or in retaliation for “protected activity.” In Massachusetts, “protected class” includes race, color, religious creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender identity, age (40 and older), criminal record inquiries, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, genetic background, and active military status. Protected activity includes things like complaining about unpaid wages or overtime, fraud against the government, discriminatory conduct, and certain other things. A strong employment discrimination or retaliation case must have a connection between the termination and the employee’s protected class or protected conduct.
If you blow the whistle on your company, exposing illegal activities such as accounting fraud, false claims or contractor bids with government projects and are fired or discriminated against as a result, you may want to act quickly and file a claim.
If you have knowledge of company wrongdoing or the defrauding of government departments or business, you are encouraged to contact an employment lawyer.
This term covers the “other reasons” category of unfair dismissals. It’s the gray area of employment law and often involves determining what is fair dealing and what is not.
This may involve employees who are fired for serving on a jury, for refusing to break the law, for refusing to commit perjury on behalf of the company in a court of law, for reporting an unsafe working condition or for reporting a crime committed by a company executive.
It may cover an employee who was fired so that the company could avoid paying a sales commission that was rightfully earned but not paid yet. It might include the breach of promise where the employee delivered his or her part of an employment contract and the employer refused to meet its part of the agreement or terminated the employee to avoid making good on the employer’s commitment.