Can You Fire an Employee For No Reason in Florida?
Florida is an ‘at-will’ employment state. Under these rules, employers have the right to terminate an employee at any time and without giving any advanced notice. Florida employers can fire a worker for a legitimate reason and they can also fire a worker for no reason at all. Companies have wide discretion over their workforce. An employer does not need cause to fire an employee.
However, Florida employers cannot terminate a worker for an illegal reason. In this post, our top-rated West Palm Beach employment attorneys provide an overview of common reasons why employers cannot fire an employee. The reasons listed below could serve as the basis for a wrongful termination lawsuit.
Wrongful Termination: Four Unlawful Reasons to Fire Workers
State and federal labor laws protect workers from unlawful discrimination. The companies that are covered by these laws are prevented from making hiring and firing decisions based on certain protected characteristics. Among other things, this includes race, gender, sex, and age. A worker who was terminated for a discriminatory reason can bring a wrongful termination claim against their employer.
All employees must be able to exercise their rights without worrying about facing retribution from their company. Employers cannot terminate workers because they filed a discrimination complaint, they filed a sexual harassment complaint, they reported misconduct to the human resources department, they refused to participate in illegal activity, or they exercised any other state or federal labor right. When employers fire workers as a means of retaliation, they can be held legally liable through a wrongful termination claim.
- Taking Entitled Family/Medical Leave
Certain employees may have the right to take family leave or medical leave. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), employees at companies with at least 50 workers may be eligible to take unpaid, job-protected leave to deal with a medical issue or tend to a family emergency. If an employee has the legal right to take leave, the company cannot fire that worker simply because they took leave.
- Breach of Contract
Finally, it is important to remember that employment contracts are binding. If you signed an employment contract, that agreement controls much of your relationship with your employer. Florida employers cannot terminate a worker if doing so would amount to a breach of their contract. For example, many employees sign contracts that prevent them from being fired without ‘cause’. If you have such a contract, you cannot be fired for ‘no reason’. Should your company violate this agreement, you can bring a wrongful termination claim on the grounds of breach of contract.
Contact Our West Palm Beach Employment Lawyers Today
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida employment attorneys have extensive experience representing both employers and employees. We handle the full range of wrongful termination claims. If you believe you were wrongfully terminated, or if your company is facing a wrongful termination lawsuit, we can help. To set up an immediate review of your employment law case, please do not hesitate to reach out to our legal team today.