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Has employment discrimination led to your wrongful termination?

In today's economic climate, most of our Colorado readers who have a job probably just feel fortunate enough to not be among the ranks of the unemployed. The joblessness rate in America continues to remain mostly stagnant, although recent months have shown some signs of modest improvement. However, there are still many Americans who face the prospect of being laid off - or even just flat-out fired - everyday. When employment does come to an end, Colorado residents should be sure that the loss of their job wasn't due to employment discrimination.

Unless an employee has a contract, an employer usually can fire the employee for almost any valid reason. But, there are some reasons which are not justifiable, and may rise to the level of wrongful termination. Although these types of claims are hard to prove, there are certain instances where an employer may have broken employment laws in approving an employee's discharge.

The first and most obvious breach of employment laws would be a termination based on retaliation. Some of our previous posts have touched on this topic, which can be especially troublesome when an employee goes on an extended leave under the protections of laws such as the Family Medical Leave Act. A subtle retaliatory firing may not come until months after an employee returns to work. Or, an employer could fire an employee for other, more obvious retaliatory reasons, such as refusing overt sexual advances.

There are other types of wrongful termination as well. A discriminatory firing based on a person's race, religion or other illegal factors can lead to a valid legal claim. As can a firing based on an employer's wish to make a person less employable by others, or even if working conditions are so intolerable that it leaves the employee with no choice but to leave the job - also known as a constructive discharge.

Whatever the basis for an employee's termination from employment, it can be important to get all of the right information about Colorado and Federal employment laws to assess whether a claim should go forward for wrongful termination.

Source: Guampdn.com, "Unfair dismissal: Has your employer broken the law?," Dec. 9, 2012

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