You may have heard the term “at-will” employment. That means that an employer can generally hire and fire at its discretion. Thus, an employee works at the “will” of the employer. But before you think that an employee does not have any rights to keep their job, the definition of “at-will” employment is not the complete picture.
There is a panoply of federal and state rights that regulate how employers can treat their employees. In particular, employers are not allowed to discriminate against their employees, nor can it stand by while other employees discriminate against their work colleagues.
In this article, we will discuss a few of the basics when it comes to wrongful termination in the workplace, and we will also discuss how an employment issues vocational expert is essential to proving all of your damages if you have been wrongfully terminated from your job.
If, after reading this article, you have additional questions about incorporating vocational experts into your wrongful termination or other employment-related cases, we invite you to contact us at Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. – OAS. We can provide wrongful death vocational experts in your case.
We are one of the most experienced employability and life care planning firms in the United States. To discuss your case, call us at 1-800-292-1919, contact us at a location near you, or through our online form.
Employment Discrimination and Hostile Work Environments
Even though most states have a policy of “at-will” employment, that does not mean that employers can take negative employment actions against you for discriminatory reasons.
Generally speaking, an employer will be breaking the law if it discriminates against you because of your:
2. Skin color
3. Sex (including sexual orientation and transgender status)
5. National Origin
7. Disability, or
Those are what are considered “protected classes” under federal law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Therefore, your employer cannot engage in any negative employment action against you if the reason is based on you being a part of a protected class.
When we discuss a “negative employment action,” that does not only mean termination from a job. Rather, there are many types of negative employment actions that are actionable in court, including:
1. Not being hired after applying
2. Being terminated
3. Not receiving a promotion
4. Being demoted
5. Being disciplined
6. Having your wages or benefits cut
7. Receiving a lesser pay increase than your peers
Receiving a poor performance evaluation
Thus, if any of the above occurred because you are a member of a protected class then you have a legitimate employment claim of discrimination or harassment.
What is the Difference between Discrimination and Harassment/Hostile Work Environment?
While both workplace discrimination and workplace harassment/hostile work environment are unlawful when they occur because someone is a member of a protected class, there is a difference between the two claims.
The easiest way to distinguish is to look at whether the victim is part of a group, or is individually targeted. If, for example, all women are being paid less than men for the same work, then that is discrimination. If, however, one woman is being paid less because she is a woman, then that is harassment.
Either way, you have a legitimate employment claim against your employer for any negative action against you based on your membership in a protected class.
Where do Vocational Experts Fit Into the Picture?
A vocational expert is vital to your employment discrimination or harassment case because the expert will be able to provide crucial evidence on the damages you have suffered because of the negative employment action taken against you.
If you were wrongfully terminated, a vocational expert will be able to investigate and testify as to the income you would have received had you not been terminated for discriminatory reasons. By the same token, if you suffered some negative employment action short of firing because of your membership in a protected class, then the expert will still be able to calculate what you should have earned had the discriminatory action not taken place.
In short, a vocational expert can show how you have suffered based on the employment discrimination that occurred against you.
Let OAS Be the Employment Issues Vocational Expert for Your Case
Many attorneys fail to realize the importance of properly documenting damages in a case. Sometimes, all emphasis and energies are placed on the initial hurdle of liability, and the impact of wrongful termination on the financial future of the employee and his or her family members is not well established. A good damages preparation may help to strengthen a case once liability has been established. To date, vocational experts have been used in a wide variety of cases. Their expertise can benefit personal injury, wrongful death, medical malpractice, product liability, workers’ compensation, matrimonial, age discrimination, and wrongful termination cases.
The experts at Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. (OAS) have over forty years of experience documenting the income potential and employment capacity of those with wrongful termination cases, as well as with the underemployed, unemployed, and disabled spouses in many types of cases.
OAS specializes in working with the plaintiff or defense attorney to assist in objectively documenting the economics in a case. From the initial referral to the trial testimony, OAS works with the retaining attorney so that the vocational assessment of the case can be objectively and efficiently presented.
OAS has served as experts on many multi-million-dollar outcomes including a record-setting $102 million verdict in a NY catastrophic injury case. Through objective consulting, analysis, and vocational testing, we specialize in assisting attorneys in documenting damages.
We strongly believe in the importance of a clear and understandable presentation of the facts. OAS is the leading provider of Vocational Expert and Life Care Planning Services for Plaintiff and Defense attorneys.
The company specializes in assisting attorneys in evaluating earning capacity in divorce cases and documenting the damages in cases where an individual has been severely injured by providing objective findings on how the injuries affect a persons’ ability to work and earn money, as well as the cost of care required in catastrophic injuries.
OAS is your Vocational Expert & Life Care Planner Nationwide, with offices in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Nevada, and California.
Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. is one of the most experienced employability and life care planning firms in the United States. To discuss your case, call us at 1-800-292-1919, contact us at a location near you, or through our online form.