Have you ever been fired for unknown reasons? After years of hard work, dedication, and sacrifice, all you get is a boot out the door.
Since New Mexico is an At-Will Employment state, many believe employers can fire you for any reason. At the Law Offices of Erika E. Anderson, we want you to know your rights surrounding wrongful termination. Our New Mexico wrongful termination attorneys can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Defining At-Will Employment
In New Mexico, employers and employees may terminate employment anytime for reasons that don’t break state or federal laws. Generally, employment contracts also can’t protect you from lawful termination unless stated in the contract.
The two exemptions that At-Will Employment termination doesn’t cover are unlawful firings and contracts involving specific termination terms.
Determining Wrongful Termination
Living in New Mexico, you have rights and laws protecting you from wrongful termination.
Federal and state laws protect you from being fired based on your identification with a protected class:
Even if you were fired indirectly for discrimination, the law still protects you from wrongful termination. One example is being fired after filing a complaint to your HR department over discriminatory concerns. Another example may be participating in a legal investigation involving your company’s discrimination issues.
State and federal laws protect you from being fired for reporting sexual harassment. This could involve reporting on your behalf or someone else’s behalf. You also can’t be legally fired for reporting that you were sexually harassed by your managers, coworkers, or clients.
If you go to the authorities to report illegal concerns or practices involving your company, you can’t be legally fired for doing so. As long as your reporting is in good faith, you’ll be protected against wrongful termination.
Employee Policy or Contract
Employers must use any reasons outlined in contracts pertaining to termination. If fired for reasons not listed on these types of contracts, then you may have a case for wrongful termination.
Also, even without a contract, most employee policies have a stated course of disciplinary action, such as warnings and write-ups. An employer can’t fire you without following their stated disciplinary procedures.
In New Mexico, you’re protected for using legally granted leave. It’s illegal for employers to terminate you for using leaves that apply to you.
For every 30 hours you work, you earn 1 hour of sick leave. An employer may also elect to grant you the full 64 hours of sick leave at the beginning of the year and can elect to give you more sick leave hours than 64.
Either way, you can’t be fired for using your accumulated sick leave hours.
Domestic Abuse Leave
Employers must give 14 days of unpaid leave to people dealing with domestic abuse-related issues. This can include consulting with attorneys, acquiring protective orders, or communicating with law enforcement.
Family and Medical Leave (FMLA)
This federal act states that employers with 50 or more employees must give eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave every year to deal with specific issues:
- Your serious health condition
- A family member’s serious health condition
- A new child’s care
- Issues surrounding a family member’s military service
An employee is allotted 26 weeks of unpaid leave in a year to take care of family members that are seriously injured during military service. You can’t be fired for taking FMLA, and your employer must reinstate you in your current position once you return from FMLA leave.
Other Types of Leave
Employers must grant unpaid leave to employees called for jury duty. Employers can’t make employees use sick, vacation, or other paid leave to do so. Employers also can’t threaten to fire employees for participating in jury service.
Employees are also granted under federal law to receive 2 hours of paid leave on election days to conduct voting. This includes native Indian, tribal, and pueblo elections.
How New Mexican Wrongful Termination Attorneys Can Help
This is by no means a complete list of wrongful termination examples. That is why it’s important to consult our New Mexican wrongful termination attorneys whenever you feel your termination was illegal.
Our lawyers can help you dig deeper into your case:
- Review documents and records
- Interview those involved
- Inspect employee policies and manuals
- Define reasons for your termination
At the Law Offices of Erika E. Anderson, we know the turmoil created by wrongful termination. Let us ensure that your termination wasn’t illegal, retaliatory, or discriminatory. We can help you receive compensation for violations and losses.
Contact us today to schedule your consultation.