What can I do about this?

I was working with an employer and was told it was only going to be a summer job. But recently I was told that they wanted to keep me and that they were firing another employee and they wanted to promote me and take his place. They have given me a company letter to take to court (child custody) with the paper stating I was working with them full time and this was back in the 3rd of October. But now on 10/19/17 I was just told that TODAY is my last day and that I was not keeping the job or anything. What can I do?

1 answer  |  asked Oct 19, 2017 08:51 AM [EST]  |  applies to District of Columbia

Answers (1)

Richard Renner
What you can do depends, mostly on what you claim is the real reason for your termination. Like 49 of the 50 states (Montana is the exception), DC follows "employment-at-will." This means that unless there is a contract (such as a union contract) that says otherwise, the employment relationship lasts as long as both sides want it to. You are free to quit (slavery is outlawed), and the employer can fire you for any reason, or no reason at all, EXCEPT for an illegal reason. That means, to make a claim of wrongful termination, you need to point to some law or public policy that makes your termination unlawful. Some of the more common wrongful termination claims arise from discrimination on the protected classes of race, gender (including sexual orientation), color, national origin, religion, age, and disability; concerted activity (talking or acting with coworkers about wages, hours or working conditions), and retaliation for whistleblowing. It is best to talk with a local employment lawyer to assess what claims you might have.

Legal claims have time limits. Each law can have its own time limit, and time limits can range from 30 days (environmental and workplace safety whistleblower claims) to 300 days (most discrimination claims), or a year or more depending on the law. Obviously, the sooner you consult with a lawyer, the better.

If there is no wrongful termination claim, you could still be eligible for unemployment benefits if you have 20 or more "credit weeks" with sufficient earnings.

posted by Richard Renner  |  Oct 19, 2017 09:03 AM [EST]

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