Your remedy after a wrongful termination will largely depend on whether the termination was prohibited by Arizona or federal law, what specific statute the termination violated, and the other facts surrounding your case. You may have several different claims to bring, each with its own requirements and statutes of limitations, so consult with an employment attorney immediately after your termination to discuss your options.
Administrative Remedies for Wrongful Termination
If your termination was wrongful because it was discriminatory based on a protected characteristic, you may be required to bring a claim before an administrative agency before you can go to court. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) handles federal claims and the Arizona Civil Rights Division (CRD) handles state claims.
Characteristics that are protected under federal and Arizona law include race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, and genetic information. If you were fired because of any of these characteristics, you will need to exhaust your administrative remedies before going to court.
The EEOC or CRD will try to resolve your claim and then possibly enforce the violation by filing their own lawsuit against your employer. If the EEOC or CRD choose not to litigate, they will notify you that you have the right to bring your own lawsuit.
However, not all wrongful termination claims require review by a governmental agency before going to court. If your wrongful termination claim is based on a breach of your employment contract, you may file a complaint in court as you would for any other breach of contract claim.
Legal Remedies Available for Wrongful Termination
There are a number of remedies that may be available if you succeed in your wrongful termination case, including:
- Back pay for the time after your termination
- Reinstatement to your former job
- Reasonable accommodations if needed to complete your job duties
- Compensation based on mental and emotional distress
Punitive damages may also be available if your employer’s illegal actions were intentional or extremely reckless.
Even if you were not actually terminated, you may have a constructive discharge case if you were forced to resign due to a difficult work environment or outrageous conduct by your employer. There are several federal and state laws protecting against discriminatory termination, firings based on retaliation, and other improper terminations or actions by your employer.
For more information, consult with a wrongful termination attorney to explain your circumstances and explore your legal remedies.
Chernoff Law handles employment law matters throughout Arizona, including wrongful termination cases. Contact us by calling 480-719-7307 to discuss your employment dispute.