Definition & Examples of Wrongful Termination

What is wrongful termination?

Wrongful termination refers to when an employee is fired for illegal reasons such as, discrimination based on gender, age, race. If the firing breaches a contract or public policy, the termination is also considered to be wrongful. Another example could be based on refusal to meet requests for sexual acts in exchange for financial gains such as raises, promotions, or bonuses.

At-will employment is standard in most states, meaning that neither the employer nor the employee needs a reason if they wish to terminate the relationship. Although there may still be some exceptions that would deem the termination wrongful.

Constructive Discharge

Constructive discharge is when a work environment is so intolerable that a reasonable person would not be able to continue working there. In addition, if an employee feels he or she has had to leave their job because an employer made the job unbearable, he or she can file a wrongful termination claim against the former employer for constructive discharge. 

An employee can be considered to have been wrongfully terminated if discrimination is involved in the termination, if public policy is violated, or if company policy has stated policies for termination and those guidelines were not honored.

A violation of state or federal employment laws is cause for a wrongful termination claim

Currently, no laws are in place that protect workers against wrongful termination, but there are clearly defined reasons that a former employee can file a wrongful termination claim against their former company such as:

  • Discrimination
  • Whistleblowing
  • Breaches of contract
  • Public policies are violated
  • Constructive discharge
  • Company hiring policies were violated
  • Employee was asked to break the law

What to do if you feel you have been wrongfully terminated

If you believe that you haven’t been treated according to the law or company policy, or have been discriminated against, the U.S. The Department of Labor has information on each law that regulates employment and offers valuable advice on the process of filing a claim. Your state labor department may also be able to assist, depending on state law and the circumstances.

Hiring a wrongful termination lawyer

If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated, it may be necessary to hire an attorney to help you. Laws pertaining to wrongful termination vary from state to state; it is best practice to choose legal representation with expertise from the state in which the incident occurred. To learn more about how a local wrongful termination lawyer can assist you, residents often choose to contact Cohen & Cohen Attorneys, who are experienced in representing clients with wrongful termination claims. Contact Cohen & Cohen Attorneys to request a free case evaluation today.