Whether you work as a medical receptionist at a busy obstetric office or a production specialist at a manufacturing facility, you depend on your job for your basic income and also for the benefits that enrich your life, like health insurance coverage.
Suddenly losing your job is a significant hardship, especially if you work in a profession where it will be difficult to find a comparable position or similar pay at another business. A surprising number of workers in Arkansas believe that they do not have the option of pursuing a wrongful termination claim against an employer.
State law makes all employment arrangements in Arkansas at-will agreements. Does your at-will employment status prevent you from holding your employer accountable for what you perceive as a wrongful termination?
At-will laws only go so far
While people do sometimes mistakenly believe at-will employment laws will prevent them from placing any kind of demands on their employer, that is not the truth. At-will employment laws simply prevent either employers or workers from facing financial consequences for terminating an employment arrangement.
You could quit your job with no notice, and your employer cannot punish you for that decision even if it has a financial impact on the company. Your employer can also choose to fire you for reasons from disciplinary issues to inadequate company profits without consequence.
However, a company cannot fire you for reasons that are illegal regardless of the at-will statute.
What are illegal reasons to terminate someone?
Employers are subject to numerous regulations, including laws against discrimination. Employers cannot let someone go because of their sex, their physical disability or their age. The law also protects workers against harassment and retaliation by a company for reporting harassment.
Companies should not fire workers because they complain about sexual harassment or workplace safety issues. Filing a workers’ compensation claim, requesting leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act and reporting regulatory non-compliance to government authorities are all protected workplace activities that should not result in someone losing their job.
When an employer discriminates against you, violates your rights or fires you to punish you for making use of your rights, their actions may constitute a wrongful termination.
How a claim can help you
Wrongful termination lawsuits can often achieve one of two beneficial outcomes for the person who lost their job.
In some cases, the courts may reinstate someone to their previous position, allowing them to continue their career and possibly granting them pay for the period during which they were unemployed because of the company’s misconduct. Other times, the courts may grant a worker wrongfully discharged from their position compensation for lost wages and the career consequences of their job loss.
Discussing your employment situation in depth can help you evaluate whether or not you may have grounds for a wrongful termination claim.