FAQ: Employment Law for Employees
- I believe I've been unfairly fired. Can I sue my employer?
- If I don't think I was fired because of discrimination or retaliation, is there anything I can sue for?
- I believe my employer is harassing me. Can I sue?
- I believe I am being discriminated against and harassed in my current job. Can I quit and still sue my employer?
The process of evaluating a potential employment claim is complex, and seemingly minor facts can make a significant difference in whether you have a claim that is worthwhile pursuing. We commonly spend several hours evaluating potential claims, so we cannot give you enough information for you to evaluate your own claim in the course of answering some general questions. We have listed some of the questions we hear, however, to give you some background in the area.
It is illegal to fire an employee because of the employee's age, race, gender, disability, or sexual orientation. It is also illegal for an employer to fire an employee in retaliation for certain things the employee has done, for instance, if the employee is a whistleblower. Also, most members of unions can only be fired for just cause. State and municipal employees also have certain job protections.
WARNING: In order to bring a discrimination claim to court, you may have to file a complaint with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities within 180 days after you received notice of the termination or other discrimination. You should make sure you decide whether or not you want to pursue a discrimination claim before this deadline. You can call the Commission at (860)541-3400 for information on filing a complaint. You can get information from the Commission's web site at http://www.state.ct.us/chro/.
If I don't think I was fired because of discrimination or retaliation, is there anything I can sue for?
You may be covered by an agreement that would affect the employer's right to fire you. Such an agreement can take many forms. The contracts may be in a collective bargaining agreement with a union of which you are a member. It may be set forth in an employee handbook that sets forth a progressive discipline policy prior to termination. It may consist of promises you were made during the hiring process on which you relied in coming to work for that employer.
You may be able to if you are being harassed because of your age, race, gender, disability, or sexual orientation, or in retaliation for something you have done that the law protects, such as being a whistleblower. If the harassment is not happening because of one of these reasons, it is unlikely that you could successfully bring a lawsuit. However, if the conduct is severe, such as verbal abuse or any sort of touching, you may have a viable lawsuit against your employer.
I believe I am being discriminated against and harassed in my current job. Can I quit and still sue my employer?
No matter how bad your work situation is, it is extremely important that you consult with an experience employment attorney before voluntarily leaving your employment. If you leave voluntarily, there is a good chance the employer will be able to avoid any liability to you, even if severe discrimination and harassment occurred. An experienced employment attorney can tell you what you can do to make your job situation better while preserving your right to recover from your employer in the future.