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THE EMPLOYMENT LAW GROUP®

Toll Free: 1-888-826-5260
Fax: 202-261-2835

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Do You Need a DC Wrongful Termination Lawyer?

  • Have you been the victim of an unfair termination in Washington, DC?

  • Do you need to protect your career because you reported your employer’s illegal or unethical conduct?
  • Are your reputation and financial stability on the line because you did the right thing and spoke out?

Although an employee is generally considered to be employed “at will” and can be discharged by an employer for any reason or for no reason at all, most jurisdictions, including Washington, D.C., have adopted public policy exceptions to protect employees who disclose criminal, illegal, unethical or unsafe practices. These exceptions are often referred to as wrongful discharge laws. In addition, the public policy exception to the employment-at-will doctrine protects employees who refuse to engage in illegal conduct. If you were fired illegally, bringing a claim of wrongful discharge may help in getting your job back.

The attorneys at The Employment Law Group® law firm have substantial experience representing employees wrongfully fired by their employers. Although an employee is generally considered to be employed “at will” and can be discharged for any reason or for no reason at all, Washington, D.C. adopted a public policy exception that protects employees who disclose illegal, unethical, or unsafe employer practices or refuse to do something illegal.

Our team of attorneys has brought numerous claims of wrongful termination to successful conclusions for our clients.  For example, The Employment Law Group® law firm established that requesting an employer’s sexual harassment policy is protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.  After suffering sexual harassment by her supervisor, an employee was terminated when she requested the harassment policy. We argued that this constituted a wrongful discharge in violation of public policy. In another case, we established that a nursing home’s termination of an Activities Director and Office Manager for reporting health and safety violations can constitute a wrongful discharge.

A wrongfully discharged employee is entitled to compensation for lost wages and benefits. Additionally, the employee may be compensated for their pain and suffering and awarded punitive damages.

As with all legal claims, deadlines are crucial. In D.C., employees have three years to file a claim of wrongful discharge. However, it is important not to sit idly on your claims. You may have other causes of action with much more immediate filing deadlines.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
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What is covered under Washington, DC wrongful discharge laws?

In 1991, the Washington, D.C. Court of Appeals first recognized the tort of wrongful discharge or termination in the case of Adams v. George W. Cochran & Co., prohibiting employers from punishing employee conduct that is protected by public policy. The elements of wrongful discharge are:

  • Employer-Employee Relationship. The plaintiff was an employee of the employer;
  • Adverse Employment Action.  The plaintiff was fired or experienced another kind of adverse employment action; and
  • Protected Conduct.  The employee’s protected conduct was a motivating or substantial factor in the employer’s decision to take the adverse employment action.

What compensation can a wrongfully discharged employee recover?

A wrongfully discharged employee is entitled to compensation for lost wages and benefits. Additionally, the employee may be compensated for their pain and suffering and awarded punitive damages.

What actions by the employer constitute an adverse employment action?

Termination, demotion, suspension, and other disciplinary actions committed by the employer are adverse employment actions.

What kind of employee conduct is protected?

Protected employee conduct is conduct protected under a well-established public policy declared in a statute or municipality regulation. Some examples of protected conduct include:

  • Whistleblowing.  Properly reporting what the employee reasonably believes to be illegal activity;
  • Fraud.  Refusing to engage in fraudulent business practices;
  • Government Investigations.  Cooperating with a government investigation or refusing to lie to a government official;
  • Discrimination.  Opposing what the employee reasonably believes to be illegal discrimination;
  • Family Leave.  Exercising your right to take unpaid leave; and
  • Unpaid Wages.  Demanding wages be paid promptly.

What should I do if I believe I have been wrongfully discharged?

Keep a detailed and contemporaneous log of your employer’s actions and statements relating to your wrongful discharge. If you have been wrongfully discharged, it is your right to take legal action.  Contact The Employment Law Group® law firm at 888-603-0983 or inquiry@employmentlawgroup.com to discuss your potential claim.

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