Wrongfully Terminated For Refusing To Commit An Illegal Act

If an employer wants you to do something illegal, they cannot fire you for refusing to follow through. An employer is not allowed to fire an employee because the employee refuses to commit an illegal act. If you were fired because of that, you may be eligible to pursue an employment law lawsuit against your employer and recover compensation for your damages. This is often referred to as Sabine Pilot retaliation.

The law of Sabine Pilot was created in a 1985 case when the Texas Supreme Court ruled that an employee cannot be terminated for refusing to commit illegal acts ordered by the employer. The illegal act refused by the employee must be one that could lead to criminal penalties. The law indicates that the employee’s refusal to commit the illegal act must be the only reason that the employee was terminated from his or her position.

To have a successful claim, you will need to maintain supporting evidence and documentation, so maintain a file of any documents or messages associated with your employment. Also, check to see if the employer has a track record of this behavior. Coworkers may be able to support your claim by serving as witnesses and detailing what they have seen in the past as well as what they saw in your specific situation. The more details that you can provide, the better off your claim will be in the long run.

How A Whistleblower Is Protected

The False Claims Act contains a provision for anti-retaliation that makes it illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who either participate in or bring claims against their employers. Employees who successfully prove False Claims Act retaliation claims are entitled to being reinstated to their job, receive as much as twice the amount of backpay that they are owed since the termination from employment, interest on that back pay that they are owed, special damages, expenses, and attorney’s fees associated with pursuing the claim.

There are other state and federal laws that are specific to the different industries including provisions to protect whistleblowers from retaliation. Each law targets a different industry and apply to different situations. There are differing time limits or statutes of limitations for pursuing claims. Your situation may be covered by more than one of these laws, which makes consulting with a whistleblower retaliation attorney a necessity for your claim’s success.

How To Prove That Their Employer Illegally Retaliated Against Them

If you have been the victim of retaliation, you will need to provide proof to have a successful claim.  Direct evidence proves the fact of your employer’s retaliatory intent without inherence or presumption. Direct evidence is found where an employer admits to the employees or someone else – either in writing or verbally – that their sole intention or motive is to terminate the employee because the employee refused to commit an illegal act at their request.

Circumstantial evidence of retaliation, which includes knowledge of the employee’s refusal to commit an illegal act by the person who decided to terminate the worker, expression of a negative attitude toward the employee who refused to commit the illegal act, failure to adhere to established company policies, differential treatment to the whistleblower in comparison to employees in similar roles, and evidence that the stated reason for the employee’s termination was not accurate or was false.

How A Employment Law Attorney Could Help

If you have been the victim of whistleblower retaliation, you should enlist the help of an employment law attorney who handles claims in your area. If you were wrongfully terminated for refusing to commit an illegal act as requested by your employer, you do have rights and there are resources available. If you have evidence to support your claim, you can recover compensation for the damages you suffered after being fired.

When you consult with an employment law attorney, be sure to go over their payment plan. Some employment lawyers require a retainer to be paid in advance, but there are some employment law attorneys who takes cases on a contingency basis and are not paid until you win your case and recover compensation for your damages.

There is usually a 180-day time limit for pursuing a whistleblower retaliation claim, and if you wait past that deadline you will not be able to recover compensation to take care of your damages. Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page to determine the best way to proceed with your case and to share details with an employment law attorney.

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