There are several laws that employers are required to adhere to when deciding to let go of an employee. For example, an employer is not allowed to fire someone because the person embraces a specific type of religion, is of a specific race, or was born in a different country. Violating the terms of any existing contract between the employer and employee is considered illegal and could give the employee the right to seek legal action against the employer.
At-will Employment in Wyoming
Wyoming, like many other states, has adopted at-will employment laws. This means that if a worker does not have a contract with his or her employer, or if there are no other statutes governing the relationship, the company can end the employment at any time and for any reason. Despite having these laws in place, however, there are important exceptions that will limit the employer’s ability to terminate an employee in certain circumstances.
Wrongful Termination in Wyoming
Wyoming recognizes a number of exceptions to the at-will employment doctrine. Under these exceptions, if a company fires an employee, it will be in violation of employment laws and could find itself on the receiving end of a lawsuit. Through such a claim, an employee may be able to collect compensation including back pay, front pay, reasonable accommodations, reimbursement of attorney fees and punitive damages. Additionally, the employee may be reinstated.
Breach of Contract: In any situation in which an employer and employee sign a contract, violating that contract can result in legal action. In some cases, those contracts will dictate that the worker is not an at-will employee, therefore forfeiting the company’s rights to terminate the relationship for any reason or at any time. Some contracts may spell out the only circumstances under which someone may lose his or her job, such as for performance reasons. It is vital that a company honors the stipulations of any employment contract, whether it is written or oral.
Discrimination: Most instances of wrongful termination involve some type of discrimination. Federal law prohibits any employer from firing a worker based on the following factors: sex, national origin, race, ethnicity, age, color, religion, pregnancy, citizenship status or genetic information. Wyoming has adopted these laws and also prohibits any form of discrimination based on the person’s military service or status. Also, state laws note that someone cannot be fired for his or her tobacco use while not working, as long as tobacco use has nothing to do with an occupational qualification.
Retaliation: The same federal and state laws that outline discriminatory practices also point out that a company is not permitted to terminate an employee for participating in a discrimination hearing or otherwise asserting his or her legal rights. These are known as protected activities and include testifying in court or making other efforts to put an end to discriminatory practices.
Wyoming also has laws in place that prevent retaliation against an employee for the following: filing a complaint regarding equal pay; fulfilling his or her jury duty service; taking leave under the Family Medical Leave Act; taking leave to serve in the military; and getting nominated or elected to office. Additionally, state law prevents a company from firing without cause an employee who has been reinstated after leave for uniformed service for up to one year after re-entering the workforce.
Public Policy: A public policy exception prevents a company from discharging an employee when the termination violates that state’s established public policy. For example, Wyoming has laws in place which state that businesses may not fire a worker for filing a claim for workers’ compensation. If the employer asks the employee to do something illegal, and the worker refuses, he or she cannot be fired on those grounds.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.