When you lose your job, it can be unclear whether you were let go in a fair and legal manner. Not every unjust situation is actually against the law. Because of these nuances, many people find themselves wondering – what is wrongful termination?
Right vs. Wrong
The majority of private employers in the United States follow the methodology of at-will employment. This means that both the employee and employer have the right to end employment at any time, and for any legal reason, even without prior notice.
However, there are still instances where wrongful termination occurs under at-will employment. An employer may not terminate any employee for whistleblowing or because of their sex or race, whether employment is at-will or under an employment contract.
What is Considered Wrongful Termination
Although wrongful termination circumstances can be tricky, you may have a case if your termination falls under the following circumstances:
- Discrimination. An employer may not fire an employee based on their sex, gender, race, religion, national origin, disability, or age.
- Breach of contract. If you have a contract with your employer, your employer cannot violate the contract to terminate you against the agreed upon terms.
- Violation of Public Policy. Your employer may not terminate your employment based on things that society views as illegitimate, such as taking time off to vote or refusing to commit an illegal act.
- Constructive dismissal. Your employer cannot make the work environment so intolerable that you can no longer work for the company and are forced to resign.
- Retaliation for Whistleblowing. Your employer may not terminate your employment for reporting the wrongdoings of your employer.
If you believe that you have been wrongfully terminated from your place of employment, contact a lawyer to discuss your options. Jill A. Silverstein has years of experience handling employment law, including wrongful termination cases.
Learn more about Wrongful Termination and other workplace legal issues from Workplace Fairness.