In most cases, employment is ‘at will,’ meaning that the employee can be dismissed for any reason or for no reason as long as the reason for dismissal is not illegal. If the termination is found to be illegal, it’s referred to as wrongful termination. If you are fired from your job, how do you know if your dismissal was legal or illegal?
A wrong termination is any firing/dismissal done in violation of local, state, or federal laws. A firing may also be considered a wrongful termination if it’s done for reasons that go against public policy or the terms of an employment agreement. If you are dismissed from a job, review this checklist for wrongful termination to see if your dismissal might have been illegal.
Breach of Contract
You may be able to file a claim for wrongful termination grounded on breach of contract if you were working under a written contract. All you have to do is find out if the contract establishes permissible grounds for dismissal or procedures for termination. Find out if your employer had a detailed employee handbook that covers discipline, termination, promotion, etc.
What reason did the employer give for your termination? Employers are prohibited from firing employees for their participation in certain protected practices. Reporting illegal behavior, such as safety violation or discrimination, to outside enforcement agencies or within the company is an example of protected practices.
The law prohibits harassment based on race, gender, age, etc. Employees can file a wrongful termination suit if supervisors, employers, and superiors made insulting or offensive comments about the race, gender, or age of the employee. Such comments form the basis for wrongful termination.
Discrimination and harassment often go hand-in-hand. Federal laws prohibit any form of discrimination by employers against their employees on the basis of gender, race, age, religion, country of origin, and other categories. If you were fired from your job for discriminatory reasons, that’s wrongful termination.
Go through this checklist and see if you can gather substantial evidence to argue your case against wrongful termination.