Can I sue for illegal termination?

I was recently terminated from my job after 6 months. Employer said it was because of performance. My manager and I did not get along well and I truly feel that they acted in ways to make my performance worse verbally telling me not to work on certain assignments then documenting that I made no progress on the same assignments, requesting additional work from me outside of the usual workflow that other team members followed then would criticize me for not keeping up with everyone else, stopping me from picking up other assignments or criticizing me for completing projects given directly to me from other managers who did not go through my manager, taking an excessive amount of time to review my work and refusing to review work as it became available for review, and more. I reached out to a higher level manager and HR about my doubts of being able to meet goals set up in a PIP I received since completion involved review from my manager something that has seriously delayed my assignments in the past, resulting in more documentation on how I do not meet performance standards. I also reached out to both prior to receiving the PIP about an unhealthy and limiting relationship with my manager. None of my concerns were addressed by neither the higher level manager or HR, but everything my manager said about me was acted upon, truth or not I have seen documentation about me that included false information. Race may play a part as the job is in a state known for racism, my manager was from the same state, internal minority groups are well aware of mistreatment of minorities in the company and I was the only person of my ethnicity and gender on my team

and larger department but that may be harder to prove. Do I have a case for illegal termination?

Asked on February 14, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

The only case you might have is one for race or gender/sex discrimination.
You don't mention a written employment contract--without a contract, you were an employee at will, and an employee at will may be terminated at any time, for any reason, including unproven, factually incorrect, or unfair ones; all that is necessary is they want to terminate you. Also, employers are not required to provide fair or respectful places to work.
Therefore, the behavior you describe is legal so long as it was not motivated by racisl or sex discrimination, since those are specifically prohibited. If you believe that those factors played a role in your treatment or termination and that you may be able to prove same, contact the federal EEOC or your state's equal/civil righs agency to file a complaint.


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