Wrongful Termination

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Frequently Asked Questions about Wrongful Termination Answered by an Amesbury Wrongful Termination Lawyer

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My boss fired me and I don’t think it was fair. Do I have a claim of wrongful termination in Massachusetts?

It depends. Generally, Massachusetts follows the employment-at-will doctrine. This means that an employer can terminate any employee at any time and for any reason, even one that may not seem fair to you. Similarly, an employee can resign from his/her position at any time and for any reason. There are a number of exceptions to this doctrine. For example, if you entered into a contract with your employer or you are part of a union that signed a collective bargaining agreement; your employer may not be able to fire you without “cause.” It would depend on what the contract says. There are a number of other exceptions that have been provided by statute or in court decisions.

I believe I was fired because I reported illegal activity. Would I have a claim for wrongful termination in Massachusetts?

Potentially, yes. Many of the laws that protect employees contain no-retaliation provisions. These laws say that an employer must not take any adverse action against an employee as a result of the employee making a complaint. Examples are complaints to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). A key element to a retaliation claim is a connection between an employee asserting his/her rights and the employer taking action in response to the employee’s complaint (e.g. you were fired days after making the complaint).

I was fired the day before I was due to receive a bonus. Is this wrongful termination in Massachusetts?

We would need to examine all the facts more closely, but this may be found to be wrongful termination. An employee may be able to recover on a theory of “breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing” when the employer fires the employee in order to avoid paying the employee for compensation earned or nearly earned.

I’m a veteran. Do I have any rights because of my veteran status?

Sometimes, yes. Massachusetts law prohibits discrimination against employees because of military service, just as it does for any legally “protected class.” Discrimination against any protected class can constitute wrongful termination. However, the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) goes a step further for military personnel. It requires employers to restore certain employees who have served in the military to the position, seniority, and benefits that they would have enjoyed if they were continuously employed as civilians. Also, in some cases, USERRA actually modifies the traditional at-will employment relationship, so that the employee can be terminated only for good cause.

Can I collect unemployment if I was fired?

It depends. If you were fired for deliberate misconduct or a policy violation, you may not qualify for unemployment. If the reason for the termination is performance based, you may be eligible. Whether one qualifies depends on the specific facts.  Check our guide for more information on this topic.

Find out Your Rights as a Wrongfuly Terminated Person under Massachusetts and Federal Law from Our Wrongful Termination Lawyer in Amesbury and Hudson.

In our Amesbury MA office our employment lawyer, Attorney Santino is ready to meet with future clients from Amesbury, Georgetown, Merrimac, Newburyport, Haverhill, Lawrence, Rowley and all the other communities of the Merrimac Valley and the North Shore.

From our Hudson MA office, Attorney Santino serves the Metro West area including: Berlin, Bolton, Clinton, Hudson, Marlborough, Northborough, Sudbury, Stow, and Westboro.

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Take action today! Call us at 978-388-1100 for a free consultation. We can arrange after-hours appointments or meet clients off-site when necessary.  We are determined to provide attorney access to  all of our clients.

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