Wrongful Termination in Montana

What Is Wrongful Termination?

While an employer does have discretion over the hiring and firing of employees, there are certain circumstances where a worker can file for wrongful termination. Termination becomes wrongful when it violates Montana law, federal law, or an employment agreement. Being fired from a job is never easy. A dedicated wrongful termination lawyer understands your rights as an employee and will fight to protect them.

According to the Montana Department of Labor & Industry, Montana is not an at-will employment state. In fact, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Montana is the only state that doesn’t recognize at-will employment. This is due to Montana’s Wrongful Discharge from Employment Act (WDEA). The WDEA has abandoned the at-will employment doctrine and replaced it with a “for cause” requirement. Generally, once an employee is complete with the probationary period, the employer must have good cause for termination.

Types Of Wrongful Termination

In Montana, there are many different instances where wrongful termination can take place. In some cases, an employer is ignorant of labor laws and may not even realize they have erred. This is why big corporations rely on human resources experts. You should always turn to an attorney if you suspect wrongful termination. In the following paragraphs are some of the red flags that you should watch out for.

Limitations of At-Will Employment

Because one of the most common forms of employment is at-will, there are limitations to this. At-will employment doesn’t allow an employer to fire a person for any discriminatory reason. Montana state, federal, or local laws prohibit these reasons.

Montana is not a right-to-work state. In fact, the Montana Legislature defeated proposed Right-to-Work legislation in April, 2021. Consequently, employers and unions are still able to enter into contracts that make union membership a legal condition of employment.

An employer also can’t fire an employee as a form of retaliation for reporting any illegal activities within the company. Were you fired for any of these reasons? If so, you may be able to file a wrongful termination lawsuit against your employer.

Discrimination

Discrimination is one of the most common forms of wrongful termination. When an employee is fired because of their race, religion, sex, national origin, ethnicity, pregnancy, age, or disability, it violates established laws meant to protect specific personal characteristics. There are also some states that prohibit employers from discriminating based on the gender identity or the sexual orientation of their employees.

If you believe that you have been penalized or fired in Montana  for one of these discriminatory reasons listed above, you may be able to file a claim with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. An experienced Montana attorney can walk you through the process to help ensure the best possible outcome.

Retaliation

Your employer can’t fire you for certain protected activities. For example, your employer can’t fire you for taking medical leave, or for participating in an investigation of job violations and wage violations. Additionally, filing a complaint with the EEOC, or informing your employer about discrimination or harassment, are not fireable offenses. 

Montana’s Wrongful Discharge from Employment Act (WDEA) protects employees from termination stemming from retaliation.  Specifically, retaliation does not satisfy the “good cause” requirement that is necessary for lawful discharge in Montana. In addition, the WDEA explicitly protects whistleblowers when the whistleblower reports wrongdoing in relation to public health, safety, or welfare.

There are some states that also prevent employee termination for taking time off to vote, perform jury duties, or serve in the military. You also have some protection if your employer has fired you for reporting a violation of safety laws or environmental regulations.

What To Do If You’ve Been Wrongfully Terminated in Montana

Are you suffering from wrongful termination? You may be entitled to compensatory damages, reinstatement, back pay, and other forms of relief. However, the exact definition of wrongful termination will depend on where you live. To find out, contact a dedicated and qualified wrongful termination lawyer. Discuss your circumstances and the Montana laws that your employer has to follow in your area.

Remember that there are usually time constraints on how long you can wait to file your claim, so don’t delay. This could cause evidence to slip through your fingers or you may miss the deadline altogether. You want a favorable outcome and so will your lawyer, so try to approach your case as proactively as possible, even before you are certain you have one.

According to Disability Rights Montana, you must file an employment discrimination complaint within 180 days of the adverse act. However, if between 180 and 300 days pass, you may file with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Step One: Gather Evidence

It’s important to start gathering all the evidence you can, no matter how small. Ideally, you had reason to suspect that your employer might terminate you wrongfully and started the process some time before. If you need to return to the office to clear out your desk or still have access to the work email, use the opportunity wisely. However, be mindful of any employment agreements or confidentiality issues.

Step Two: Find an Attorney

Hiring an experienced Montana wrongful termination lawyer will help you take the first steps so that you make a strong case to get the outcome you seek. Montana employment laws are intricate and are constantly changing. Therefore, you should always work with an attorney who focuses on this specific area.

Step Three: File a Complaint

If you have not yet had your case reviewed by an attorney, the EEOC built a self-evaluation tool to help you decide if filing a claim with them is an appropriate way to handle your case. An attorney simplifies this part of the process by helping you to write the complaint. You serve your employer notice. Then, the resolution process starts there. Note that not all cases make it to a courtroom as some employers prefer to settle.

The Montana Human Rights Bureau (HRB) enforces state and federal laws that prohibit unlawful discrimination. If you have or are experiencing illegal discrimination, you should contact the HRB to set up an intake appointment. Within 10 days of filing the complaint, the HRB will send a copy of it to the respondent.

If you file with the Equal opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Seattle Field Office handles complaints in Montana. The Seattle Field Office is under the jurisdiction of the San Francisco District Office.

Why You Should Hire A Wrongful Termination Lawyer

Filing a wrongful termination lawsuit in Montana can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve been treated unfairly by your employer. Speaking to an experienced lawyer can help you to understand what legal rights you have as a victim and if your case is applicable for wrongful termination. For some people, the opportunity have someone listen helps to ease the burden they’ve been carrying.

We understand that finding the right attorney can be hard. This is why we created our service to connect clients in need with experienced Montana attorneys. To match with the right lawyer, you simply provide your location, category, and some other additional information. We then send you your options as soon as they are available.

Our company charges no fees to connect you with the legal services you need. Some Montana attorneys or practice areas may require legal fees upfront, but there are many that do not. Some professionals may not charge a single penny at all until they win your case.

Are you ready to find a qualified Montana attorney who can help you fight for your job or get justice for the wrongful termination you suffered? We can even help you connect with an attorney across Montana state lines.

Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!

How It All Works

Call us or answer the questions on this site. Your category, location, and additional information will help us connect you to a legal professional and we’ll send you the results instantly.

Which Areas of Law?

We have attorneys in over 20 legal categories to choose from.

How Much Does This Cost?

We don’t charge you to be connected. Some legal categories require upfront fees while others do not. The legal professional will determine this with you before you commit to anything.

Secured & Trusted

technolawyer