What constitutes a wrongful termination?

Being unemployed is difficult to navigate and cope with following a job loss. This is often intensified when you believe that you were wrongfully fired. While it is natural to feel as though you should not have loss your job, if your termination was for a legal reason, you have legal rights and options.

Filing a wrongful termination claim against your employer is an available option. And depending on the circumstances and factors involved, it could assist with the recovery of damages and losses suffered because of the unlawful termination.

Wrongful termination basics

All states, apart from one, allows for at-will employment. This means that an employer can fire an employee at any time and for any reason. But it also means that an employee enjoys the same rights, allowing them to quite anytime and for any reason. While it seems like an expansive right, there are exceptions. An employer cannot fire an employee for illegal reasons, such as for discriminatory reasons or for retaliation.

When there is an employment contract, there are legal obligations created. This means that an employee cannot be terminated at a time or a reason that would violate the terms of the agreement. This could constitute a breach of contract. Additionally, like an at-will employee, even if it does not violate the terms of the contract, a termination cannot be for illegal reasons.

Filing a claim

Often, a wrongful termination involves discrimination. This could be based on an employee’s race, color, national origin, sex, religion, disability, pregnancy, age or any other protected characteristic. A wrongful termination could be related to retaliation. This means that the employer wanted to punish or fire an employee for engaging in a protective activity.

Examples of retaliation includes reporting sexual harassment, trying to form a labor union, taking time off under FMLA, filing a workers’ compensation claim, reporting illegal activity of employer to law enforcement, sitting on a jury, serving in the military, filing a claim for a hostile work environment, reporting safety violations, filing a Title VII claim, reporting unsafe working conditions to OSHA, taking time off to vote or participating in a formal investigation into the employer’s practices.

If you believe you were wrongfully terminated, it is important to understand your rights and what actions you can take. A legal professional could answer any questions you have, which can help you navigate the matter and better protect your rights and interests.