Alabama is an at-will employment state. That means unless there is a written employment contract (which is rare unless you are an executive or a professional) a company can fire an employee for any reason or no reason at all. While Alabama’s legislature has not opted to provide significant legal protections to its workers, there are still Federal laws that prohibit an employer from terminating an employee for an illegal reason. Terminating or firing employees in a manner that is discriminatory on the basis gender, race, age (over 40), disability, religion, or country of national origin violates Federal law. The Federal laws also prohibit termination or retaliation against an employee for reporting discrimination or objecting to discrimination in the workplace.
Despite this general framework, it can still be difficult to know whether you have been wrongfully terminated under Federal law. Most employment lawsuits do not involve an a business specifying a discriminatory reason for terminating an employee. It is not that simple. Instead, most cases involve a company applying discipline or policies in a manner that favor one class of individuals over another. For instance, many employers have a progressive discipline procedure where employees are warned prior to being terminated for certain offenses. A business violates Federal law when it ignores these policies for certain individuals or enforces them more strictly against others on the basis of age, race, gender, disability or religion.
If you believe your job has been wrongfully terminated, I would be happy to discuss your situation in more detail. Please contact me at (205) 588-0699 for a free consultation.