The term “wrongful termination” means that an employer has fired or laid off an employee for illegal reasons in the eyes of the law. Being terminated for any of the reasons listed below may constitute wrongful termination:

  • The employer cannot terminate employment because the employee is a certain race, nationality, religion, sex, age, or in some states, sexual orientation. For more information, see our page on discrimination law.
  • An employer cannot fire an employee because the employee filed a claim of discrimination or is participating in an investigation for discrimination. This “retaliation” is forbidden under civil rights law.
  • An employer is not permitted to fire an employee because the employee refuses to commit an act that is illegal.
  • Often, the employee handbook or company policy outlines a procedure that must be followed before an employee is terminated. If the employer fires an employee without following this procedure, the employee may have a claim for wrongful termination.

An employee may not be fired in violation of labor laws, including collective bargaining laws.Some of these violations carry statutory penalties, while others the employer to pay damages based on the terminated employee’s lost wages and other expenses. Certain wrongful termination cases may result in the payment of punitive damages to the terminated employee, while other cases may carry the prospect of holding more than one wrongdoer responsible for damages. An employment law attorney review the facts of your particular case, and can give you expert advice on whether or not you may have a valid wrongful termination claim.

“At-Will” Employees

Most employees, except those working under an employment contract or a collective bargaining agreement, are considered to be “at-will” employees. This means that the employee may be fired for almost any reason or for no reason. It also means that the employee is free to quit his job without legal consequences.

Although an at-will employee may have a cause of action against an employer who fires her in violation of state or federal law (i.e. anti-discrimination laws), the employee usually has no legal recourse for being fired, even if the firing was unfair or unwarranted. This is a complex area of employment law, and only an experienced attorney will be able to advise you whether you have an actionable case.

There are two main theories under which at-will employees sometimes recover in wrongful termination actions: (1) violation of public policy and (2) breach of implied good faith and fair dealing.

Violation of Public Policy

Although an employee who is discharged because of his or her race, sex, religion, national origin, or disability, for example, will have a remedy against an employer under state and federal statute, some violations of public policy are not clearly spelled out by statute.

In cases where an employer clearly violates an important public policy in firing an employee, most states will allow the employee to recover against the employer in a wrongful termination action. In such cases, punitive damages, in addition to back pay or front pay, may be awarded.

Examples of public policy violations that often result in recoveries by terminated employees include:

  • Firing an employee for refusing to violate the law
  • Firing an employee for reporting a violation of the law by the employer that could or did harm the public
  • Firing an employee for exercising a statutory or constitutional right
  • Firing employees because they answered a subpoena or attended a civil deposition

Breach of Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing

In addition to providing a wrongful discharge remedy when an employer has violated public policy, a fewer number of states allow a wrongful termination claim by an at-will employee based upon the theory of a breach of an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. In such cases, the employee alleges that the employer breached an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing by firing him or her. If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated from your job, contact an attorney with experience in wrongful termination legal services to assure you achieve the fairest possible outcome.

Related Posts
How a real estate attorney can help you during your home purchase
There are different kinds of real estate transactions such as commercial leases, residential rentals, single-family home, and investment property transactions. To make sure that your real estate transactions run smoothly, ...
READ MORE
Punishments And Penalties for DUI/DWI
No crime goes unpunished. No other crime in the US gets more offenders behind bars than Driving Under the Influence or Driving While Intoxicated offenses. Laws per state vary but ...
READ MORE
Want to convert your rental unit in to a commercial unit
There are several ways in which you can evict the tenant you don't like without raising the red flag. One of it is to convert or demolish your rented unit. ...
READ MORE
What to do when your tenant doesn't pay rent
The landlord has the right to evict the tenant especially when the tenant hasn't paid the rent on full and on time. However, the landlord has no right to evict ...
READ MORE
Basics of buying a house
Real estate transactions can be intimidating at times. You might encounter pitfalls that will make you lose money as you buy your first house. This is why hiring an attorney ...
READ MORE
Understand the DUI police report
The dui police report you receive contains the evidences against you in the DUI case. These are the evidences that you must overcome in the trial. The report will have the ...
READ MORE
The landlord’s right in evict tenants
Every state in US has the unique Rent Control Acts and this is to be protected in the right manner surely. There should indeed be a valid reason behind everything ...
READ MORE
Why to hire dui lawyer
You must have heard of the friends or family members being caught under the DUI. Definitely, Driving under Influence is not a small case. In fact most of the states ...
READ MORE
How to find a good lawyer
Lawyers are everywhere, each has her or his own expertise or specialised area in the fields of law that vary from civil, criminal or appellate litigation. Finding however a good ...
READ MORE
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
If you go for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may have a lot or all of your debts canceled. On the other hand, you might need to sell some or all ...
READ MORE
How a real estate attorney can help you
Punishments And Penalties for DUI/DWI
Want to convert your rental unit in to
What to do when your tenant doesn’t pay
Basics of buying a house
Understand the DUI police report
The landlord’s right in evict tenants
Why to hire dui lawyer
How to find a good lawyer
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy