Many individuals who work in Georgia are already aware of the fact that their employment is “at will.” What that means is that an employer in Georgia is allowed to terminate an individual for practically any reason. Georgia courts typically state that an employee can be terminated for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all. So how can someone working in Georgia be “wrongfully terminated?” The answer is that there is no generic claim in Georgia for “wrongful termination.” Instead, there are various specific claims—such as retaliation, discrimination, or breach of contract—that sometimes arise when an employee is terminated.
Since its introduction in 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has served as a guardian against the unfair treatment of full and part-time employees throughout the United States. The FLSA regulates minimum wage, child labor, overtime payment, and recordkeeping for federal, state, and local governments, as well as employees in the private sector. Continuous amendments to the document ensure salary standards congruent with living expenses in the current economy.
Once terminated, former employees are often surprised to hear the employer’s reasons for termination. In many cases, former employees feel that the reason given for termination is unfair, deceptive, or simply a lie. To make things worse, employers don’t always provide a clear reason at the time of the firing. Sometimes the employee hears the reason for the first time when applying for unemployment benefits. Sometimes they may not hear the reason until they apply for a new job and the prospective employer checks their references. However, this does not mean that the reason given is defamation or slander.
Discrimination, wrongful termination, hostile work environment, retaliation. These are words that I often hear during an initial client interview. While these concepts are relevant to employment law matters, they are often misunderstood by employees and employers alike.