Like most other states, Massachusetts is an at-will employment state. It means that in the absence of an employment contract, your employer can fire you for whatever reason as long as it is not in violation of your legal or civil rights.
However, your termination may be unlawful if an employer fires you for an illegal reason, and you should take action to protect your rights. You may have a valid wrongful dismissal claim, as explained below.
Examples of wrongful termination
Several scenarios can give rise to a wrongful discharge. For instance, if your employer fired you based on discriminatory grounds such as age, gender, race or religion, it is against your civil rights and labor laws. Constructive dismissal, where an employer makes your life at the workplace unbearable in a bid to force you to quit, is also unlawful.
Similarly, an employer cannot legally dismiss you in retaliation for refusing to participate in illegal acts, taking part in a legal strike, whistleblowing, or for filing a harassment claim, among other protected activities.
What should you do about it?
If you have unsuccessfully tried resolving the matter with your employer, it may be time to explore other avenues to get justice. They include filing a wrongful dismissal lawsuit against them where you may be entitled to certain damages due to your illegal termination.
Perhaps the most important thing you need is proof that your termination was illegal. Your employer will likely justify their actions which is why you need evidence to support your case. It may include previous performance reviews, communication records with your employer before dismissal and even statements from your colleagues – anything that shows your employer acted in bad faith.
Still, it is best to seek legal guidance on what more you need to do for a successful outcome to your wrongful dismissal suit.