Losing a job is never an easy experience. Along with concerns about money, getting fired from a job you enjoy is tough on its own. However, the experience is even more harrowing if you fall victim to wrongful termination.
While employers have a lot of leeway when it comes to firing workers, they must still abide by certain laws and guidelines. Here are a few things all workers should know about wrongful termination and when to take action.
Many firings happen according to the law
In most cases, workers retain employment on an at-will basis. That means workers can leave an employer at any time for any reason, or for no reason at all. Similarly, employers can let workers go for many reasons (provided they are not discriminatory), or for no reason at all. In this case, a firing may not fall into the category of wrongful termination unless there are other factors at play.
Employers can sometimes violate federal or state laws
Even with at-will employment laws in place, employers can still commit violations when firing. For instance, if an employer fires a protected worker for an unlawful reason, the worker can usually file a lawsuit alleging discrimination. Worker protections cover things like race, age, disability, and many other characteristics.
Breach of contract is another factor to consider
In addition to federal and state laws, employers must also follow any contract terms regarding their staff. For example, if an employment contract specifies certain terms for firing a worker, and the employer violates those terms, they may have committed a breach of contract. Read through your employment contract carefully to determine whether this is an issue.
In the event wrongful termination does take place, workers have some legal options. You can ask for compensation to make up for things like lost wages. You can also request to get your previous position back.