Your job is important to you. When you go to work, you likely hope to be treated fairly and in accord with the law. Unfortunately, not all employers are conscientious about following employment laws. Some terminate employees in violation of their legal rights or public policy. If you are concerned about a wrongful termination, you should talk to Washington, D.C. wrongful termination attorney Matthew T. Famiglietti. Mr. Famiglietti is a knowledgeable lawyer who can evaluate whether you have a basis to sue for damages.Wrongful Termination
Employment in the District of Columbia is at-will. Both employers and employees are entitled to end the employment relationship for any reason or no reason, except when law or public policy dictate otherwise. There are specific circumstances in which you cannot be terminated even if you are an at-will employee, such as when the termination is motivated by a discriminatory reason.
Federal anti-discrimination laws, often enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) prohibit discrimination on the basis of various protected classes. Federal Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids taking an adverse employment action on the basis of sex, race, national origin, religion, or color. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) forbids discrimination on the basis of disability. In general, the federal discrimination laws apply to midsize or larger employees. Title VII and the ADA only apply to employers that have at least fifteen employees. Discuss these laws with a wrongful termination lawyer in the Washington, D.C. area. For instance, you might have a claim under Title VII if your employer terminates you because you reveal that you are a Muslim at work. Or, you might have grounds to sue for wrongful termination under the ADA if you are terminated because you asked for a reasonable accommodation for your disabling cancer.
The Washington, D.C. Human Rights Law protects twenty-one characteristics. It prohibits employment discrimination, along with public accommodation, educational institution, and housing discrimination. Protected characteristics include disability, race, national origin, color, religion, sex, age if you are 18 or older, marital status, personal appearance other than subject to business requirements, sexual orientation, gender identity, political affiliation, genetic information, credit information, status as a victim of domestic violence, or family relationships. For example, you might have a claim for wrongful termination if you were terminated because you were assaulted by your spouse and your employer held stereotypes about those victimized by domestic violence. Learn more about these characteristics from a wrongful termination attorney serving clients in Washington, D.C.Public Policy
In Washington, D.C., employers cannot penalize employees for their conduct that is protected by public policy. For instance, you should not be terminated because you filed a workers’ compensation claim or gave testimony under subpoena. Similarly you should not be terminated or retaliated against for filing a complaint or instituting a proceeding related to occupational safety and health. Under Washington, D.C. Code section 32-1117, you may have a claim for wrongful termination if your employer discharges or disciplines you for refusing to do work that you believe creates a dangerous situation that could cause harm to your physical safety or that of another employee, for which you are inadequately trained, or under conditions that violate either federal or District health and safety rules.
Additionally, whistleblowers are protected under federal and local laws. For instance, under Washington, D.C. Code section 2-308.16, you should not be discharged in retaliation for lawfully disclosing information about a false claims action to a law enforcement agency or the government. If you are aware that your employer is violating the law, you should be able to report it without fearing retaliation. Your employer should not terminate you because you exercised your rights under particular laws or refused to violate laws.Damages
If you can establish liability for wrongful termination, you may be able to recover monetary damages. Generally, damages could include back pay, front pay, pain and suffering, punitive damages and attorneys’ fees. The court may enjoin an employer to reinstate you or put in place procedures that would make sure discrimination doesn’t continue.Retain a Seasoned Washington, D.C. Wrongful Termination Lawyer
If you are concerned about wrongful termination in Washington, D.C., you should discuss your situation with experienced attorney Matthew T. Famiglietti. Mr. Famiglietti is committed to representing workers in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. He also represents federal employees. Complete our online form or call the Law Office of Matthew T. Famiglietti at (202) 669-5880.