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Does Kentucky’s at-will law eliminate wrongful termination?

On Behalf of | Feb 21, 2022 | Employment

Wrongful termination is what occurs when a company fires a worker for a legally-prohibited reason. Choosing to let someone go because of their gender or sex, their age if they are over 40, their race or their medical issues would be an example of wrongful termination. Firing someone after they complain about sexual harassment on the job or request accommodations for their disability would be another example of wrongful termination.

Kentucky, like numerous other states, has enacted an at-will employment law. This rule essentially lets workers leave their jobs at any time and for any reason. Similarly, their employers can fire them at any time and without any reason at all. Does the at-will employment law in Kentucky prevent workers from ever bringing wrongful termination claims against their employers?

Workers still have wrongful termination protections

Just because a business can fire you for any reason doesn’t mean that they can intentionally violate your rights. Although it can be more of a challenge in an at-will employment state, it is still possible for a worker in Kentucky to fight back when their employer fires them for an inappropriate reason.

For example, if your termination directly follows you reporting misconduct to human resources or a government regulatory agency, the timing alone could lead to questions about employer misconduct. If your employer started writing you up or returning negative performance reviews after you engaged in some kind of protected workplace activity, like filing a complaint, those write-ups might just be a paper-thin cover over what is clearly an act of retaliation.

Trying to get copies of your communications prior to your termination or creating a written record of the action that you think so misconduct on the part of your employer could help you fight back against their misconduct.

How a wrongful termination claim can help you

Losing your job unexpectedly or as a result of employer misconduct can lead to significant financial hardship. You lose out on income and may struggle to find a similar position. In some wrongful termination cases, companies may have to rehire a worker that they fired for an inappropriate reason. Other times, workers can seek financial compensation for their lost wages and career setbacks they suffered because of their employer’s retaliatory or discriminatory firing.

Learning more about Kentucky employment laws can help you stand up for yourself against company misconduct.