Gaithersburg Wrongful Termination Attorney Seeks Fair Resolutions
Knowledgeable Maryland employment lawyer serves workers and businesses
In today's economy, most workers are at-will employees, meaning that they or their employers can end the relationship at any time for nearly any reason or without providing any justification at all. However, there is an important exception: employers cannot terminate an employee for an illegal reason. If an employer lets a worker go in violation of state or federal law, that's wrongful termination, and the employee can sue for monetary damages and equitable relief, such as a court order for reinstatement. The Law Office of Christopher J. Smith, LLC in Gaithersburg represents Maryland and Washington, D.C. clients on both sides of the issue. In every case, I seek timely, cost-effective resolutions that uphold my clients' rights.
What is wrongful termination in Maryland?
There are two types of wrongful termination. The first is a violation of an employee's rights under state or federal law. These cases allege that an employer fired a worker for an unlawful reason, such as:
- Discrimination — Federal law protects workers from dismissals and other adverse job actions based on certain personal characteristics. Under federal law discrimination based on race, creed, color, ethnicity, nation of origin, gender, pregnancy, disability or age is prohibited. Maryland and Washington D.C. rules add protection for additional groups.
- Harassment — Sexual harassment, such as when a boss pressures an employee into a date, is considered a form of unlawful discrimination. A hostile work environment where workers face severe or pervasive offensive behavior because of their race, religion or other protected trait would also qualify. Where harassment exists, workers often quit, then file suit for constructive termination, alleging the abuse compelled him or her to leave.
- Retaliation — Employees enjoy certain rights in the workplace and cannot be fired for exercising those rights. These might include regular rest breaks, prompt payment of earnings, family and medical leave (whenever eligible) and reasonable accommodations for disability. Retaliation claims can be brought if someone was dismissed because they reported discrimination, acted as a whistleblower, filed a workers compensation claim or participated in labor organizing.
- Violation of public policy — Employees cannot be discouraged from objecting to company practices that are potentially illegal. Since it is in society's interest to have conscientious employees shining a light on unlawful acts, firing such people amounts to wrongful termination on public policy grounds.
Companies might also be accused of wrongful termination if someone working under a contract believes their dismissal violated their employment agreement. This sometimes applies to executive level employees who have various guarantees based on performance. In other cases, a group of employees might be working under an agreement or company policy that restricts terminations unless certain conditions exist. Firing a worker under these circumstances without clear justification could be viewed as a breach of an actual or implied contract.
Remedies for wrongful termination
An employee who is wrongfully terminated can be eligible for monetary damages, such as lost earnings, as well as compensation if stress over the unlawful treatment led to medical problems. Punitive damages are also available if the employer's conduct was particularly egregious. The worker can also request injunctive relief, including reinstatement to their previous position. Of course, each case is unique, so the remedies available depend on the facts of the case, which I thoroughly investigate before suggesting a litigation strategy.
Contact a determined Maryland attorney for wrongful termination representation
Serving clients in Maryland and Washington, D.C., The Law Office of Christopher J. Smith, LLC represents businesses and employees in disputes over alleged wrongful termination. Call 301-760-7460 or contact me online to schedule a free consultation. My Gaithersburg office stands ready to represent you in your employment matter.