What Is The Difference Between Wrongful Termination And Hostile Environment?

Have you become increasingly more uncomfortable at work? Were you recently terminated from your job? While many people have troubles at work, sometimes the employer crosses the line into illegal activity. Proving that your boss acted illegally or allowed others to do so is very difficult.

Attorney Erin Croke at Heckenback Suazo LLP has extensive experience handling employment law claims for professionals working in the Denver metro area. She will help you determine if you have an actionable claim.

First, it helps to understand hostile work environments and wrongful terminations.

What Is A Hostile Environment?

If you think you have a claim against your employer for allowing or creating a hostile environment, or retaliating against you for reporting such an environment, you will need to prove that:

  • A supervisor, employer, co-worker or customer engaged in an objectively hostile or abusive actions; and
  • Your working conditions were altered by the resulting environment, which you found to be subjectively hostile or abusive based a protected characteristic. Those characteristics include but are not limited to: sex, sexual orientation, transgender status, pregnancy, race, religion, disability, and being over forty years of age.

These illegal and offensive actions may include:

  • Making inappropriate comments about your appearance, clothing, etc.
  • Sharing crude jokes or sending explicit images or messages via email or another form of communication
  • Touching you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable

While you may easily answer “yes” to all of these points, proving them is another matter. You will need to identify willing witnesses and preserve any evidentiary documents, such as emails and text messages.

What You Need To Know About Wrongful Termination

In Colorado, state law allows employers to fire employees “at will.” This means that employers can dismiss their employees without warning or justification. However, employers cannot illegally terminate you. What qualifies as an illegal termination?

You may have a wrongful termination case if you were fired from your job after:

  • You did something that is protected by law, such as filing a discrimination claim or applying for medical leave through the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • You did something required by your professional license; for example, when a mandatory reporter reports abuse
  • Your employer violated the terms of your employment contract
  • You suffered workplace sexual harassment or assault
  • You suffered discrimination due to sex, gender, religion, disability or another protected category

As with any claim, you should preserve your evidence so that you can show proof of the illegal actions and monetary damages. For example, did you suffer direct financial losses because of the termination; did your career suffer; or was it hard to get a new job because of the way that you separated from employment?

Do You Think You Have A Claim? Contact Us Today.

If you have been illegally fired, Ms. Croke is able to defend your interests in and out of the courtroom. As a skilled negotiator and proven litigator, it is her goal that you resolve your legal matter as expeditiously as possible so that you can move on to the next phase of your career.

At Heckenback Suazo LLP, we handle employment matters with discretion and professionalism. Please contact us to discuss your case via our confidential online form or by calling 720-644-8142. Get the honest answers you need to make informed decisions.

Have you become increasingly more uncomfortable at work? Were you recently terminated from your job? While many people have troubles at work, sometimes the employer crosses the line into illegal activity. Proving that your boss acted illegally or allowed others to do so is very difficult.

Attorney Erin Croke at Heckenback Suazo LLP has extensive experience handling employment law claims for professionals working in the Denver metro area. She will help you determine if you have an actionable claim.

First, it helps to understand hostile work environments and wrongful terminations.

What Is A Hostile Environment?

If you think you have a claim against your employer for allowing or creating a hostile environment, or retaliating against you for reporting such an environment, you will need to prove that:

  • A supervisor, employer, co-worker or customer engaged in an objectively hostile or abusive actions; and
  • Your working conditions were altered by the resulting environment, which you found to be subjectively hostile or abusive based a protected characteristic. Those characteristics include but are not limited to: sex, sexual orientation, transgender status, pregnancy, race, religion, disability, and being over forty years of age.

These illegal and offensive actions may include:

  • Making inappropriate comments about your appearance, clothing, etc.
  • Sharing crude jokes or sending explicit images or messages via email or another form of communication
  • Touching you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable

While you may easily answer “yes” to all of these points, proving them is another matter. You will need to identify willing witnesses and preserve any evidentiary documents, such as emails and text messages.

What You Need To Know About Wrongful Termination

In Colorado, state law allows employers to fire employees “at will.” This means that employers can dismiss their employees without warning or justification. However, employers cannot illegally terminate you. What qualifies as an illegal termination?

You may have a wrongful termination case if you were fired from your job after:

  • You did something that is protected by law, such as filing a discrimination claim or applying for medical leave through the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • You did something required by your professional license; for example, when a mandatory reporter reports abuse
  • Your employer violated the terms of your employment contract
  • You suffered workplace sexual harassment or assault
  • You suffered discrimination due to sex, gender, religion, disability or another protected category

As with any claim, you should preserve your evidence so that you can show proof of the illegal actions and monetary damages. For example, did you suffer direct financial losses because of the termination; did your career suffer; or was it hard to get a new job because of the way that you separated from employment?

Do You Think You Have A Claim? Contact Us Today.

If you have been illegally fired, Ms. Croke is able to defend your interests in and out of the courtroom. As a skilled negotiator and proven litigator, it is her goal that you resolve your legal matter as expeditiously as possible so that you can move on to the next phase of your career.

At Heckenback Suazo LLP, we handle employment matters with discretion and professionalism. Please contact us to discuss your case via our confidential online form or by calling 720-644-8142. Get the honest answers you need to make informed decisions.