This is the second post in our series on cases involving the wrongful termination of federal employees. Our last article provided an overview of topics we will be discussing and stressed the need to speak with an attorney immediately if you believe you were illegally fired. It is important to contact a lawyer as you only have a limited amount of time in which to bring a claim. If you miss your time window then you may lose your chance at having your day in court. In this article we will discuss what it means for a federal employee to be “wrongfully terminated.”
The term “wrongful termination” has a legal definition which is different than the way in which the general public typically uses the phrase. People often think that they have a “right” to their employment and that they have grounds to sue if they are terminated for doing a poor job, for not getting along with co-workers, or for other reasons. The fact of the matter is that most firings do not fall under the idea of “wrongful termination.” The phrase encompasses any firing that violated a legal protection enjoyed by employees. Such protections include the right to be free from ethnic or religious discrimination, the right to not be discriminated against on the basis of a disability, or the right against retaliatory firings. Wrongful termination, in and of itself, is not a claim that one may bring against their employer; the different types of firings which fall under the idea of wrongful termination are such claims.
A federal employee who has lost their job should contact an attorney as soon as possible. It may be that one’s rights were violated and they did not realize it. Say, for example, that a worker was fired due to a disability. Such a worker may believe that the disability made them unable to perform the job and, therefore, that the firing was fair. The truth of the matter, however, is that employers (including the federal government) are required to make reasonable accommodations on behalf of those with disabilities. What constitutes “reasonable” will be situation specific but under this hypothetical the worker may be able to gain reinstatement or compensation for damages.
If you have been terminated from your federal job then do not make the mistake of deciding for yourself whether your employer’s actions broke the law. Our Atlanta employment attorneys assist federal workers throughout the United States. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation.