Every worker in St. Louis and around the state is considered an at-will employee, unless they have an employment contract or are a member of a labor union. This means that they are free to leave a job at any time, and employers can terminate someone’s employment for any lawful reason.
However, terminations on the basis of someone’s membership in a protected class violate the state’s Human Rights Act. Wrongful termination can also include firing an employee for their participation in a government investigation or reporting violations of labor laws (Missouri Whistleblower Protection Act – RsMo 285.575) or firing an employer for being injured on the job (Retaliatory Discharge – RsMo 287.780).
A St. Louis wrongful termination lawyer at our firm could help you protect your rights after being fired for an illegal reason. Our employment law attorneys are experienced in helping wrongfully terminated work pursue legal remedies such as reinstatement and backpay.
Missouri Revised Statute §213.055 says that a workplace cannot discriminate against an employee, including by firing them, on the basis of their membership in a protected class. These classes include:
It is illegal to terminate someone’s employment on the basis of any of these factors as well as for reporting wage, safety, or other violations. Getting fired for filing a complaint or assisting with a government investigation is also considered wrongful termination and could form the basis of a successful civil claim against the offending employer.
Certain federal laws also prohibit termination on the basis of one or more protected factors. For example, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act combine to prohibit termination on the same bases as state law.
Employees who are wrongfully fired in St. Louis may file a complaint with Missouri’s Department of Labor & Industrial Relations. This agency investigates claims of wrongful termination and can implement a solution. The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission can also investigate and punish companies that violate federal labor laws.
In cases where the recommended remedy does not offer sufficient restitution, a St. Louis attorney could help investigate the specific reasons given for the termination of someone’s employment and build a powerful case for reinstatement and back pay on their behalf. Filing a complaint with the Department will result in the issuance of a Notice of Right to Sue, which allows aggrieved workers to file cases in civil court to seek back pay, reinstatement in a previously held position, and other remedies.
Firing an employee because of their age, religion, sex, national origin, or membership in another protected class can give rise to investigations of discrimination and civil liability. It is also illegal to fire an employee for submitting a complaint with the Department of Labor & Industrial Relations or for cooperating with government investigation. Companies that commit these acts violate the Human Rights Act and are liable to provide compensation.
A St. Louis wrongful termination lawyer on our team could help you pursue this compensation by filing an initial complaint with the states’ Department of Labor & Industrial Relations, the EEOC, or initiating a private lawsuit in civil court. These cases can result in substantial compensation as well as reinstatement at your previous job. Reach out to an attorney today to protect your rights after a wrongful termination.