Georgia doesn’t recognize wrongful termination unless an employment contract or agreement has been breached. The default situation in Georgia, like most other states is that employment is at-will.
This means that an employer (or an employee) does not have to give a reason for terminating employment. An employer can in fact end an employee’s employment for any reason they choose, including for bad reasons. This tends to favor the employer rather than the employee in Georgia.
Despite the prevalence of at-will employment in Georgia, there are still reasons why a termination may be considered illegal if it violates anti-discrimination or fair labor laws.
Taking legal action after what you consider wrongful termination isn’t easy, and you are advised to discuss your case with an employment lawyer if all attempts fail with your employer.
If you do have grounds for a lawsuit, and have proof that your employment was wrongfully terminated, you may be able to claim wages that you should have received, emotional damages and in some cases punitive damages.
Types of Wrongful Termination
Wrongful termination in Georgia includes acts of discrimination against you as an employee. Federal legislation prohibits employers from discriminating against their employees because of their age, gender, disability, religious or political beliefs or if they become pregnant.
If you believe that your employment was terminated because of discrimination against you, you may have grounds for filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC).
If your employment was not at-will, but governed by an employment contract, you will need to carefully check your contract or agreement to see whether your employer breached the contract when terminating your employment.
If you can prove that there was a breach of contract, then this may be considered wrongful termination and you may have grounds for suing your employer.
Your employer cannot terminate your employment if you have taken sickness leave, or have taken time off because of a bereavement. Also, if you have been injured at work or become sick because of your job and apply for workers’ compensation, you cannot be fired just because you have applied legitimately.
It is also illegal for an employer to push you into a forced resignation as a form of discrimination. This can be if you experience harassment and discrimination at work and are forced to resign as a result.
Georgia Wrongful Termination Laws
If you work in Georgia and you have been wrongfully terminated, you have local state laws that protect you alongside of federal laws.
Workers who work in Georgia are subjected and protected under Georgia state laws. Georgia is an at-will employment state, that means that can be fired for any reason, except an illegal one.
That also means that employers in Georgia can be fired without any notice. Only if the firings are legal though, if your firing was illegal you may be able to sue your employer. Examples of illegal firings include:
- Fired Due to Your Race/Ethnicity
- Fired Due to Your Gender
- Breach of Contract
- Fired Because of Your Disability
If you can prove that you have been wrongfully terminated, then you may be able to sue your employer for violated both federal and Georgia wrongful termination laws.
How to Prove Wrongful Termination
If you are a worker in Georgia and you believe that your termination was illegal, in order to have a successful employment law claim against your employer, you need to be able to prove that your firing was illegal.
To successfully bring about the claim the your firing was illegal, you need prove that the reason that your employer fired you was illegal.
If you have been wrongfully terminated in Georgia you will need to keep track of any paperwork of any positive feedback that you have received from your employer, those include performance reviews, emails, etc.
You should also see if your company has a history of wrongfully terminating other employees. For example, if you believe you were terminated because of the ethnicity, you should see if your employer has a history of terminated other minority workers or not hiring minority workers.
Another way to prove wrongful termination if you are a worker in Georgia is to see if you have any witnesses to back up your claim that your firing is illegal.
Having witnesses to corroborate your claim that you were wrongfully terminated can help you when you are filing a wrongful termination claim against your employer.
Statute of Limitations Laws in Georgia
If you are a worker in Georgia and you want to sue your employer by filing a wrongful termination claim against them, you have strict statute of limitations in which you have to file a claim.
In Georgia, you have a 180-day statute of limitation, that means you have 180 days from when you were fired illegally to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Because of this strict statute of limitations, it is recommended to file your claim as soon as possible if you choose to sue your employer for wrongful termination.
If you choose to seek the help from a wrongful termination lawyer, they can help make sure that all of your paperwork is in order and that your lawsuit is filed in time within the statute of limitations
If you have been wrongfully terminated in Georgia, you may want to seek help from an employment law attorney who can take a case in your area. Your attorney can help make sure everything is in order for you to file a claim against your employer.
How to Sue for Wrongful Termination in Georgia
Before considering legal action against your employer, you should first attempt to discuss the termination with your employer, or your employer’s HR department if there is one. There may have been a misunderstanding and the issue can be resolved without having to see a lawyer or file a complaint.
If you don’t have any success, you should talk to an employment lawyer before filing a complaint. The lawyer can determine whether you were wrongfully terminated and what steps you could take to resolve the issue.
If your termination was due to discrimination, and your employer had more than 15 employees, you could file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission.
Your complaint should be investigated by an official at the EEOC who will contact your employer to verify why you were terminated and if it was due to discrimination. If there is no resolution possible, then the EEOC may give you permission to sue your employer.
For other cases of wrongful termination you may be able to file a complaint with the Department of Labor Hours and Wages Division closest to you.
Again if you have no success, discuss the possibility of filing a lawsuit for wrongful termination against your employer. If successful, you may be able to recover lost wages, including wages that you might have earned if your job hadn’t been terminated.
Other damages you may be able to claim include compensation for emotional distress and, in some cases, punitive damages.
Whether you file a complaint with a government agency or file a lawsuit in the civil court, you must have proof that your employment was terminated.
This can be difficult unless you have managed to collect evidence over a period of time showing a systematic pattern that finally led to your termination.
In the case of age or gender discrimination, for example, evidence that the employer has discriminated in the same way with other employees in the past.
Get a Free Case Evaluation
It is not an easy to take legal action against your employer if you have been wrongfully terminated. If you are considering filing a complaint or suing your employer it is best not to try and attempt to do this all by yourself unless you have had legal training.
If you use an employment lawyer you have a better chance of winning a claim against your employer and legal fees should then be paid by your employer. Fill out a free evaluation form today.