Do I have a case for wrongful termination if I went out on leave and was fired without a reason or notice?

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Do I have a case for wrongful termination if I went out on leave and was fired without a reason or notice?

I was fired while on leave. When I found out that I was fired I applied for unemployment. I then learned that my employer stated (lied) to unemployment stating I didn’t inform them of my leave, however, I had all documents confirmingthat I had. I eventually won the unemployment but I need more help.

Asked on March 25, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Maryland


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, if you did not have an employment contract or agreement (including a union agreement covering your job), you were an employee at will. An employee at will may be terminated at any time, for any reason. So it is likely that the employer could fire you--and that therefore you do not have a claim for wrongful termination--if you lacked an employment contract, since your employer could fire you for any reason, including simply that it wanted to fire you, and it does not matter that your leave had been approved.

The above said, if you were fired--

1) Because of a protected characteristic, such as because of your race, sex, religion, age over 40, or disability;

2) Because you used a protected benefit, like FMLA  leave;

3) Because you brought a protected complaint, such as for overtime or that you had been discriminated against; or

4) Because you brought some illegal act or safety violation to light

--then you might have a cause of action. If you think this might be the case, you should speak with an employment law attorney. Good luck.


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