You only had your job for three years and you were still a relatively new staff member in a small accounting firm compared to the rest of your colleagues that had been there for 10 years or more. Everything had been going well. You got on well with your co-workers and your boss, and you enjoyed your work. Things started to change six months ago when a new manager (a friend of the owner) was hired.
While the addition of the new manager began well, it was not long before the honeymoon was over. You and other staff members began to experience instances of verbal abuse from the new manager. She began to make outrageous demands of you while you were in the office, forced you to work late and constantly complained about having to pay you for your extra hours.
Before you knew it, you were practically working for free and constantly being harassed. After several months of dealing with her behavior, you finally sent a formal complaint to the HR manager. You were fired four days later.
Have you just been taken advantage of?
It is possible that your employer wrongfully terminated you for filing a complaint with HR. Since filing a wrongful termination suit can be complicated and challenging, your best course of action is to first consult with an experience employment attorney in the Minneapolis area. Read further for information on Minnesota wrongful termination laws.
Most people work in an at-will situation. This means that unless you have an employment contract stating otherwise, your employer can fire you for any legal reason or for no reason. However, there are unlawful reasons for an employer firing you. These include violations of anti-discrimination and labor laws, firing as a form of sexual harassment, and firing as a form of retaliation for a workplace complaint.
Your attorney will examine a number of facts to determine if you have claim for wrongful termination and if there is enough information to prove it. If you have an employment contract, your attorney will look at evidence to find out if your employer violated it. If you do not have a contract, your attorney will work with you to decide if there was an implicit contract that your employer violated.
Leaving no stone unturned in identifying how your employer violated laws
Differential treatment is another factor your lawyer will consider. For example, if your employer cited performance problems as the reason for your termination, your attorney will try to find out if other employees were let go for the same reasons. If not, he or she will look for evidence that your boss treated you differently based on a legally protected status. Such statuses include gender, race, disability, age, ethnicity, and even sexual orientation.
In your case, you were fired just after filing a complaint against your manager, therefore your attorney will likely focus on that as the basis of your claim. You are entitled to a safe work environment. When a manager is constantly harassing you, then your workplace no longer feels safe.
Your attorney will want to review any documentation from your employer regarding the reasons for you termination. This could include performance reports during the time of your employment. If you kept documentation of the harassment, this could also be useful to your attorney. In addition, statements from your coworkers may be helpful to prove harassment and wrongful termination.
If you think you have been wrongfully terminated, it is important that you understand your rights. Contact a local Minnesota attorney with employment law experience for advice on filing your claim.