How doI know if I have been unlawfully terminated?

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How doI know if I have been unlawfully terminated?

I was called in to the supervisors office and asked to close the door and sit down. I was told “There is no easy way to say this – but we no longer need your services”. I asked why and was told they were going to put in place new procedures and they would no longer need me. No other reason was given. I worked in a position where there was 1 team leader, 2 temps and myself – all basically doing the same job – with some variations. I cannot prove it – but my feeling is they fired me so they could bring one of the temps on full-time with benefits. I don’t if NC is a Right to Work or At Will state. I had only been on the job 5 months. I was hired by another supervisor who moved to another position with the company. When the new supervisor came – he started bringing in everyone he knew – or friends of current workers. Do I have any legal rights? I do I just go back out and look for another job?

Asked on October 20, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You probably do not have any legal rights, unless you had an employment contract, including a union contract, which protected your job. Otherwise, all states are employment at will  states. ("Right to work" has to do with unions and whether people can be forced to join a union to work in a company where a union has a presence; there is no general right to work in the United States.) This means an employee can fired at any time, for any reason--including to make room for other personnel, to keep lower-paid personnel, or because the employee was hired by a now-gone supervisor and the new supervisor wants his own people. The only fairly broad exception is that someone cannot be fired because of his or her membership in a proteced category, such as the empoloyee's race, religion, age over 40, disability, or sex. This doesn't mean, for example, that a minority employee can't be fired--just that he or she can't be fired simply because he or she is a minority.


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