Under what circumstances can you sue for wrongful termination?

I was hired for 3 days, and on the 4th day, they fired me stating that I was on drugs, falling asleep at my desk and not following instructions. These allegations are untrue. No one complained to or about me within the 3 days. I thought everything was fine. I have 2 witnesses that worked with me but will not testify in my behalf because they don’t want to lose their job. Is there anything I can do?

Asked on September 30, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If you don't have a written employment contract limiting the reasons you could be terminated or requiring that the employer follow a certain procedure to terminate you, there really is not such thing as wrongful termination. That is because without an employment contract, you are an employee at will and may be terminated at any time, for any reason at all...since all reasons for termination are proper, none are therefore wrongful. It doesn't matter if you did a great job they could still terminate you.
The exception is, they cannot terminate you because of a protected characteristic, the main ones of which are your race, sex, religion, age over 40, or disability. If you think you were terminated for a reason like that, you may have suffered employment discrimination and may have a legal claim. If you believe this is the case, you may wish to speak with an employment law attorney, who can evaluate the facts in detail and help you determine if you have a valid claim and what it might be worth.


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