Getting fired is always a difficult and emotional event. Even if your employer cites a valid reason for terminating your employment, it can be painful to be let go from a position.
But what happens when your boss terminates your employment based on a falsehood? If this happens, you may wonder, “Can I sue my employer for false accusations?”
False accusations do not always come directly from an employer. In some instances, a coworker may lie about you. You may be fired for things you never did.
Victims of false accusations often feel a strong sense of injustice. After all, many employers do not ask accused employees about their side of the story.
If a false accusation has led to your termination, reach out to a skilled tort attorney at Morgan & Morgan. Our accomplished attorneys know how to handle false allegation cases.
Since our firm’s founding, we have successfully won and settled over a million cases for our clients. To schedule a free consultation to discuss the facts of your false allegation case, fill out the simple contact form on our website.
Understanding False Allegations and At-Will Employment
Almost all states across the nation rely upon “at will” work regulations. Because employment relationships are assumed to be “at will,” employers are legally permitted to fire workers for almost any reason.
Employers are even legally permitted to dismiss employees without providing any reason at all. Because of this, business owners and operators are not required by law to investigate allegations against their workers.
This may seem very unfair, especially if you are facing accusations that are untrue. However, current employment law does not force employers to determine the accuracy of an allegation made against you.
While employers have a broad range of leeway about whether to fire employees, there are some restrictions and legal guidelines that they do need to observe.
Can I Sue My Employer for False Accusations That Lead to a Dismissal?
Firing an employee because of a false allegation is not a legal exception to the standard of “at will” employment. In other words, supervisors are permitted to fire their workers based on an untrue accusation.
Even if the lie is clearly disprovable, your employer has the legal right to fire you as a result.
Suppose that an allegation against you comes from a coworker who is a known liar. Even in this case, your boss cannot be held liable for firing you because of the accusation. This is because your employment is based on a voluntary agreement between you and the owner of the business.
If your employer decides to terminate your employment, they may do so. Most people find that at-will employment laws offend their sense of fairness.
You may still wonder, “Can I sue my employer for false accusations?” In some cases, you may be able to file a legal claim following a false allegation. This is especially true if the lie was a pretext for firing you in an illegal manner.
When you believe you have been wrongfully terminated from your job, it is vital to reach out to a knowledgeable employment attorney. The skilled team at Morgan & Morgan knows how to successfully fight for the victims of false accusations.
Legal Exceptions to At-Will Employment
There are three main categories of exceptions to at-will employment:
Express and Implied Employment Contracts
Most workers do not operate under an employment contract. But some employees do.
Some contracts are “express,” while others are “implied.” Courts may find that you are working under an employment contract if any of the following conditions apply:
- You and your employer signed an actual, written employment contract
- The employer made statements limiting the conditions in which you could be fired
- Employee handbooks establish procedures and policies regarding termination
- You are a member of a labor union
If any of these conditions apply to your situation, it is important to speak with an employment law attorney. The above scenarios may influence your ability to pursue a valid legal claim.
When you wonder, “Can I sue my employer for false accusations?” — consult with a legal professional. The employment lawyers at Morgan & Morgan will thoroughly assess your situation to determine the best path forward.
We believe that victims of wrongful firing deserve justice. Let us fight for your rights when you’ve been the victim of false allegations.
Harassment and Discrimination
Federal and state laws are in place to prohibit harassment and discrimination in the workplace. This type of worker protection is meant to ensure fair employment opportunities.
Employers are not permitted to treat workers differently on the basis of:
- National origin
- Sexual orientation
- Gender identity
- And more
If you believe that your termination was grounded in a discriminatory practice, you may be able to seek compensation.
Suppose that your employer fired you, citing a false rumor that was spreading among your coworkers. If the employer’s stated reason for the termination was only a cover for their desire to discriminate against you because of your age, your termination would be illegal.
In cases like this, it is critical to reach out to an accomplished lawyer. A trusted employment law attorney will investigate whether you may have grounds to file a lawsuit against your employer.
Employers are not allowed to fire their employees in retaliation for asserting their legal rights. Under federal law, workers have a right to:
- Have a safe and secure workplace
- Have a workplace that is free of harassment
- Demand working conditions that are free of discrimination
- Report any illegal activity in the workplace
- Cooperate with investigations into illegal workplace activity
- Seek disability payments, if necessary
- File workers’ compensation claims without retribution
- Demand fair treatment in regard to hours and wages
Employers and businesses are not allowed to retaliate against workers for engaging in these activities. These rules include the procedures for termination.
If you believe that you have experienced a retaliatory termination, contact a lawyer. Some employers will cite false allegations as the reason for termination when they are actually a pretext to retaliate against a worker.
Do not let this happen to you. Reach out to the skilled experts at Morgan & Morgan to pursue justice through a wrongful termination case.
Defamation Concerns Following Wrongful Accusations
Another possible legal action after false allegations in the workplace is a defamation suit. The term “defamation” refers to any untrue statement that damages someone’s reputation, career, or personal interests.
Not every negative statement or accusation qualifies as “defamation.” Many types of communication in the workplace are privileged.
This is especially true if the statements are private and are not published to any third party. These types of communications are usually exempt from claims of defamation, although some exceptions to this guideline may exist.
If an employer or coworker made a false accusation about you and your reputation has been harmed, you may have a valid defamation claim. To build a successful case, you and your lawyer will need to show that the allegation was:
- A statement
- Injurious to your career or reputation
- Not privileged communication
To win a defamation case, you and your attorney must prove that all five elements have been met. For this reason, defamation cases can be particularly complex.
Contact a knowledgeable defamation attorney if you have been the victim of false accusations. If the false accusation is discussed in a private conversation between you and your employer, it can be difficult to prove defamation.
Before meeting with an employment law attorney to discuss your case, gather all of the relevant evidence that you have. Any documents, emails, or other forms of correspondence may be important pieces of evidence.
If your attorney can prove that the false accusations hurt your reputation or professional prospects, you may have a strong case in court.
The lawyers at Morgan & Morgan have plenty of experience with employment and defamation cases.
You should not have to bear the professional and reputational harm caused by untrue accusations. Let our skilled defamation lawyers pursue justice for you.