What Constitutes Wrongful Termination in the State of Georgia?

June 30, 2016 | Charles Bowen

256px--FIRED-_stamp.svg.pngWhen an employee has been fired from his or her job, they may be under the impression that they have been subject to wrongful termination. But there is a significant amount of misunderstanding within this legal area, and so if your business has been accused of wrongful termination, it is important to work with a legal professional to determine the parameters of a wrongful termination lawsuit.


Georgia Follows At-Will Employment Law

In Georgia, as with most of the other states, all types of employment are considered “at-will.” This means that an employer can generally terminate an employee for any or no reason. However, there are specific guidelines that all employers must follow and they may be liable for wrongful termination in the following circumstances:

  • They terminate an employee based on unlawful discrimination or in retaliation for an employee action.

Multiple laws govern the employment of minorities and those with disabilities.  If the company has violated those laws in the termination process, they may be held liable for wrongful termination.

  • There is an employment contract stating the employee cannot be fired without just cause.

Contract law dictates that those under legal contract with a Georgia business must be given just cause for their termination. In cases where just cause is not provided, or the employee does not believe the cause provided met the requirements under the law, the employer may be subject to a wrongful termination suit.


What Other Options Are Available After Termination?

Regardless of whether the employee has been the subject of a wrongful termination, they may still be able to initiate legal proceedings against their former employer if they believe the company violated their rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under this Act, employers have an obligation to follow clear record-keeping and overtime regulations.

For example, it sets the standard for employees who should be considered “exempt” from overtime pay. Often, a company will determine an employee is exempt when legally they should be receiving overtime pay for their role.

It’s important to work directly with an employment law expert if your company has been accused of a wrongful termination. Only a legal expert can help review your case and determine the potential legal defenses available to you.

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Topics: Georgia Employment Law