Though it may be possible to wrongfully terminate an employee with an employment contract, most employees are considered at-will employees who can be terminated at any time for any reason. There are exceptions, however, when an employee has an employment contract or when the employee has been terminated for a discriminatory reason or retaliatory reason which may be considered wrongful termination. Workers have protections against wrongful termination that they should be familiar with.
What is wrongful termination?
Wrongful termination by employers is prohibited. Wrongful termination can occur in several different types of circumstances including:
- Discriminatory firing: it can be considered discriminatory to fire an employee for a discriminatory purpose such as based on the employee’s race. There are certain categories of protected status that employers cannot fire employees based upon. Prohibited discriminatory reasons for firing an employee can include firing them based on their race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, religion, disability or age.
- Retaliatory firing: it can be considered retaliatory firing to terminate an employee for engaging in certain protected activities. Employers are prohibited from firing employees for engaging in certain activities such as informing an employer about harassment or discrimination; filing a complaint for harassment or discrimination; participating in an investigation for harassment, discrimination or violations of wage and hour laws and some other reasons as well.
Employment law protects employees from being wrongfully terminated from their jobs. The legal system understands the value workers place on their jobs which is why it provides important protections from wrongful firings that employees should be familiar with.