Should You Fear for Your Job from Your Employer if You Sue?
Hi, my names Jared Richards and I’m one of the partners at Clear Counsel Law Group. One of our readers has asked whether he can be fired when he is filing a lawsuit against the employer? The answer’s actually kind of complicated. As a general principle, we are an at-will employment state. In fact, I think [virtually] every state in the Unites States is an at-will employment. What that means is in an at-will employment state in general, an employer can fire an employee at any time for any reason. Just like an employee can quit at any time for any reason. Sometimes there are contracts that will prevent those. If there’s no employment contract in play then that’s the general principle.
Employer can fire you for any reason that he wants. There are some exceptions. One, employers cannot fire you for federally protected reasons. For example, if you fall in to a protected category of race, gender, age, the employer can’t fire you on on the basis of discrimination. He can fire you for other reasons but not on the bases of discrimination. That doesn’t really apply to the lawsuit issue. Also, that only applies to employers of a certain size. As far as a lawsuit goes, it depends on what is the purpose of the lawsuit. There is a principle in the law that says the employer cannot terminate you for being a whistle-blower. If the employer does then the employers going to be liable. If the lawsuit is essentially you being a whistle-blower then the employer better think twice about firing you for that reason.
This is actually a pretty complicated area of law. I would highly recommend that you talk to somebody who has experience in representing people in employment matters. I’d find an employment lawyer. If you have any more questions please give us a call and we’re happy to help.