IHOP hired me about a week ago. It is "at will" employment. I trained for two days over the course of a week and then tonite I went to work for 7pm as told previously and was told that they had hired too many people and had to let me go. This was after I was told to buy slip resistant shoes and a uniform which cost me nearly a hundred dollars. I didn't even make that much during my training days at IHOP. Is this unlawful termination? Would I have a case?
Louisiana is an "at will" state and if the business has been truthful with you regarding the reasons for your termination, you probably don't have a good claim for wrongful discharge. You might, however, want to check with the local office of the U.S. Dept. of Labor Wage and Hour Division about the cost of your shoes and uniform. If this was a requirement of the employer, and the cost of such means you made less than the minimum wage during your training, you might be able to recoup that cost..
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Being able to successfully bring a legal claim an employer for wrongful termination usually involves more than simply being able to prove that you did not do anything wrong. Wrongful termination is a generic term that refers to any termination that can result in legal action against the employer. Although the laws are different from state to state, generally there are several different types or varieties of wrongful termination claims. Your rights as an employee depend on several things. One, whether you have a contract of employment and, if so, whether the employer violated the contract. Two, whether you are in a union, and if so, whether the union agreement was violated by the employer. Three, whether you are a government or civil service employee protected by civil service or other government laws or regulations, and, if so, whether the employer violated those laws or regulations. And four, in addition to the above (or if none of the above apply and you are an at will employee), whether the employer had some legally prohibited motive or reason for the termination. Most of the illegal or improper reasons for termination are exceptions to the at will doctrine and they require proof of some illegal or improper motive such as discrimination due to your age, race, sex, color, national origin, pregnancy or disability. Some exceptions require proof of a retaliatory motive such as retaliation for complaining about illegal conduct of the employer like not paying overtime, or violating OSHA regulations, or discrimination, or taking FMLA leave, or filing a workers comp claim, or doing other things that the law either gives you a specific right to do or imposes an obligation to do.
If you want to determine if your rights have been violated as an employee your best course of action is to speak to an employment lawyer and be prepared to discuss the possible motives for the adverse employment action. The question of how long you have to file a claim depends on which one of the possible claims you may have.
Disclaimer: This answer is provided as a public service and as a general response to a general question, it is not meant, and should not be relied upon as specific legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.
As an at-will employee, you can be fired for any reason or no reason, except an unlawful discriminatory reason. Age, gender, race or religious belief are examples of protected classifications for which an employee may not be discriminated against by way of termination.
If you do not have an employment contract or union to represent you, your recourse is very limited.
You might find my Legal Guide helpful "Discrimination in th Workplace: A Basis for Wrongful Termination Claims"
You might find my Legal Guide helpful "How to Choose A Lawyer For You"
You might find my Legal Guide helpful " What Do I Tell My Lawyer"
If you have a discrimination theory about hostile workplace conditions or retaliatory discharge you'll need a lawyer. Check with a lawyer in your locale to discuss more of the details.
Good luck to you.
NOTE: This answer is made available by the out-of-state lawyer for educational purposes only.Reading it is not like the having the benefit of communication from a lawyer with whom you have an attorney client relationship protected by all the benefits that relationship provides
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