Ask a Wrongful Termination Lawyer: 5 Frequently Asked Questions

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Losing your Kansas City job can be devastating, but wrongful termination can turn your life upside down. As you grapple to understand what happened, you likely have questions that keep you up at night. Do you have a legal case? Can you file for unemployment? A wrongful termination lawyer can provide the answers you need as well as guidance for the future.

Ask a Wrongful Termination Lawyer in Kansas City: 5 Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Do I Know If I Have a Wrongful Termination Claim?

Nearly any employee can be fired for poor performance, but state and federal laws safeguard against termination for certain reasons unrelated to job performance. Those reasons include:

  • Retaliation for filing a whistleblower action
  • Retaliation for filing a discrimination or harassment claim
  • Retaliation for taking leave in accordance with the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • Discrimination based on religion, age, color, national origin, gender, or race
  • Discrimination based on a disability that can be reasonably accommodated

In some cases, monetary damages such as back pay can be sought for these violations. Punitive damages may also be sought, although these are capped based on the number of employees and can be harder to prove. An experienced wrongful termination lawyer can review your case and determine the best approach.

2. What Happens If an Employment Contract Is Breached?

Missouri is known as an at-will employment state, meaning employers can often fire employees without notice or cause. Employees can similarly quit their jobs when and how they deem it most appropriate, at least in most situations.

Under the right circumstances, employees can enter into separate employment contracts. These contracts, whether express or implied, often specify how long a position will last, such as a year, and the circumstances in which the employee may be let go.

When a Lawsuit May Be Filed

With a contract in place, the conditions of employment are no longer subject to the at-will rule. An employee can therefore file a lawsuit for breach of contract if an untimely discharge occurs. It can be difficult to ascertain the exact provisions of a contract, especially if it is implied, but attorneys are highly skilled in this area. The right counsel will listen to your argument, review any evidence you provide, and help you pave a path forward.

3. Do I Have a Case If I’m Still Working?

It is perfectly acceptable to enforce your legal rights even if you are still employed. Many employment claims can be remedied without interrupting or disrupting your work.

In addition, an employer cannot lawfully retaliate against you for seeking advice from wrongful termination law firms in Kansas City. Even if you do not have a viable case, lawyers cannot reveal information pertaining to your representation. Nor will they contact your employer or otherwise discuss your situation, except where required by law or at your request.

4. If Terminated, Am I Entitled to a Severance Package?

A severance agreement is simply a contract made between an employer and a departing employee. That agreement typically states the employer will pay a monetary amount (severance) in exchange for the employee’s departure. The agreement may also stipulate the employee cannot sue the employer for any issue, including wrongful termination.

Whether or not you’re entitled to a severance package depends on your company’s policies. No federal laws require employers to pay severance. But your employee handbook or employment contract may provide for this payment. An attorney is the best person to speak to when trying to negotiate and/or secure a severance package.

Unpaid Wages

Kansas City employers are legally obligated to pay a discharged employee all wages owed at the time of dismissal. If a final paycheck is not issued at the time of firing, a formal letter requesting wages due should be sent to the employer with a certified mail return receipt requested.

The employer has seven days to respond once the written request is sent. If the employer fails to meet that deadline, they are responsible for continued wages to the employee until they are paid in full for up to 60 days.

5. Can I Receive Unemployment Insurance If I Am Fired?

Any claim for unemployment benefits will be denied if you were terminated for misconduct. But if you can prove your termination was the result of illegal actions, you may indeed qualify for unemployment insurance. The application process is often complex, especially if your employer challenges your claim. An attorney can explain unemployment eligibility and, if you qualify, help fight for your benefits.

If you believe your employer has violated your rights, it’s crucial you speak to an attorney. They can answer your many questions, determine if you have a case, and even help you file for unemployment benefits (if you’re eligible). If you are still working, a lawyer can discreetly manage your case without interrupting your employment. Likewise, if you have an employment contract, an attorney will review its provisions and determine the best course forward.

By Admin

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