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Can I Sue My Employer?

Employees should enjoy a safe and respectful work environment. But that's not always the case. Employees can take legal action if their employer fails to respect their rights. This article answers some questions about employment rights and when to consult an employment attorney.

Your Employer Discriminated Against You

Federal law, through the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, bans employers from discriminating against employees based on:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Gender
  • National origin
  • Sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Disability

If you believe your employer is discriminating against you on these grounds, you may bring a discrimination lawsuit against your employer.

You Were Wrongfully Fired From Your Job

Did your employer terminate your employment for reasons unrelated to the company's state, your employment contract, or your performance? Employers can fire at-will employees for many reasons unless you are a protected class member.

But there are also illegal reasons to fire someone. For example, your employer can't fire you for:

  • Serving jury duty or taking time to vote
  • Retaliation for being a whistleblower
  • Taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act

If your employer fired you in violation of federal or state labor laws, you may sue your employer for wrongful termination.

Your Employer Is Harassing You

Although there are different types of workplace harassment, the most common one is sexual harassment. This harassment may be from your employer. You will also have grounds to sue your employer if another co-worker harassed you and your employer failed to do anything about it. A hostile work environment exists when management is aware of harassment and does not correct the problem.

You Got Injured at the Workplace

Employees must get workers' compensation benefits for workplace injuries even if their actions helped cause the injury. Contact a lawyer to start a claim if your employer won't pay you.

You may also sue for injuries that would not otherwise fall within a worker's compensation claim. This may include injuries caused by defective products or third-party negligence.

Can I Sue My Employer for Bullying Me?

Maybe. If you can prove your employer's actions are affecting you and you are experiencing emotional distress, you can bring a personal injury claim against your employer. FindLaw has resources on how to sue your employer for work-related emotional distress and bullying.

Before You Sue: See If There Are Alternatives

Lawsuits are expensive and take a long time. So, before you sue, ensure you have exhausted all other remedies. You can try one of the following before suing your employer:

  • Speak to your employer to see if you can resolve the issue.
  • Talk to the human resources department or another responsible person that handles these issues,
  • Contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). It will conduct its own investigation and may require arbitration or mediation.
  • Speak to an attorney for legal advice on other ways of resolving the issue.

Make Sure to Document Everything

If you have tried other alternatives and nothing seems to work, it may be time to bring the case to court. Before you file your case, have evidence to back your claims.

Document everything that shows how your employer violated your rights. You can do this by taking pictures, saving email correspondences, or documenting other encounters with your employer that could prove their illegal behavior.

More Resources

An Employment Lawyer May Help With Your Legal Claim

If your employer mistreats you, you have legal rights. If your employer commits illegal acts, you should take action. Speak to an experienced employment law attorney who can review your case and explain how to proceed.

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You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

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Next Steps

Contact a qualified employment attorney to make sure your rights are protected.

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