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Not all terminations are lawful

Finding out that you've lost your job is a terrible feeling. When you are being wrongfully terminated, it is even worse. There are a few things that you need to remember about terminations before you decide that you need to take action about a wrongful termination.

While Rhode Island is not a right-to-work state, there are federal protections that make terminations illegal in some instances. Understanding these can help you as you try to figure out whether you were wrongfully terminated or not.

Discriminatory or retaliatory terminations are illegal when you have a status that is considered protected. This means you can't be terminated because of your religious preferences, a disability, your gender or your relationship status. You also can't be let go because of your race or ethnicity.

Another reason that employers can't use to lawfully terminate your employment is if you don't do something that is illegal. For example, your employer can't require you to sell crack cocaine to customers as part of your job duties because selling that drug is illegal.

Employers can't terminate you if it breaks an employment contract. If you are making this claim, you will need to make sure that you have met all the terms of your contract up through the termination and ensure that you didn't violate the terms.

You also can't be terminated if you are taking time off for medical reasons if that leave is protected. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides unpaid time off for some employees and they can't be terminated during the time of the leave.

If you do think that you have been wrongfully terminated, you can take legal action. Learn about this option, but do so quickly. Your time to file a claim is limited so taking swift action is vital.

Source: FindLaw, "Was I Wrongfully Discharged From My Job?," accessed April 05, 2018

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