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When Can an Employee Pursue Compensation for Wrongful Termination?

Posted on in Employment Law

Wisconsin severance package attorneyBy: Attorney Jaclyn Kallie

The loss of a job can cause a great deal of difficulty for a person and their family.  There are a variety of situations where an employee may be laid off, fired, or otherwise terminated, and in some cases, employers may violate the laws when terminating an employee.  Those who have been wrongfully terminated may be able to take legal action against their former employer, and they may recover compensation for the financial losses they have experienced.  In these cases, employees can work with a skilled employment law attorney to determine their best options for holding an employer responsible for its wrongful actions.

Retaliatory Discharge and Other Forms of Wrongful Termination

The laws in Wisconsin follow the doctrine of at-will employment, and this means that an employer or employee can terminate employment at any time for any reason that does not violate the law or go against public policy.  However, there are a number of situations in which an employer is not allowed to terminate an employee, including:

  • Retaliation for legal actions - Workers are protected against whistleblower retaliation, and an employer cannot fire a person for reporting fraudulent activity or violations of laws or regulations by an employer or other parties.  Employees are also protected against termination because they refuse to participate in illegal activities.

  • Workers’ compensation claims - Employees who are injured in workplace accidents or suffer from medical conditions caused by the work they performed may file claims to receive workers’ compensation benefits.  An employer cannot fire a person for reporting a workplace injury or making a workers’ compensation claim.

  • Family medical leave - Under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), an employee can take an unpaid leave of absence because of a serious medical condition, to provide assistance for a family member, or to care for a new child.  Employers are not allowed to terminate employees who take this type of leave.

  • Discrimination - Employers cannot fire employees because of factors such as race, religion, national origin, gender, age, sexual orientation, or disability.

  • Breach of contract - An employment contract may protect an employee from termination or detail the procedures followed when disciplining an employee or addressing performance issues.  Wisconsin recognizes both written and oral contracts, and employee handbooks or company policies may be considered contracts that affect an employer’s ability to terminate an employee.

Contact Our Milwaukee Wrongful Termination Attorneys

If you believe that your employer violated the law or went against public policy when they terminated you, the attorneys of Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP can help you determine your legal options for addressing this situation.  We will advise you as to whether you can pursue a wrongful termination claim, and we will provide you with representation to ensure that you will be compensated for the losses you have experienced because of your employer’s actions. Contact our Milwaukee employment law attorneys at 414-271-1440 to learn how we can help with your case.

Sources:

https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/er/laborstandards/retaliation.htm

https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2001/01/art1full.pdf


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