Wrongful termination happens when an employee is fired from a position for illegal reasons, or if the company violated its own policy when letting the employee go.
Employment at Will
In many cases, employees are employed at-will, meaning that the employer or employee can terminate the employment at any time without notice, and without reason. Employees still do have some rights in these cases. They cannot be firedfor legally protected reasons, for whistle blowing, or for refusing to commit an illegal act. Other reasons an at-will employee may be able to claim wrong termination are implied contract, public policy, and covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
If the court finds that there was an implied contract of employment in the employment manual, the employer may have to go through the proper channels to terminate the employee.
Public policy refers to an employee who whistle blows, reports a violation of the law to an agency, or refuses to act illegally and finds himself suddenly unemployed, for example, would be an employee being firedon the day before they become vested in their benefits for no other reasons other than to pay the employee their benefits. In these cases, you should contact a wrongful termination attorney.
Employment Contracts and Collective Bargaining Agreements
Employees who have either a contract or a collective bargaining agreement, are not employed at will and cannot be fired as such. They must go through the proper procedures in their agreements, often with written warnings and performance improvement plans, in order to be fired from a job.
Federally Protected Termination
Dismissal, or discharge is when an employee’s contract of employment is ended based on discriminatory Federally protected factors such as:
- National Origin
- Sex or Gender
- Age (40 or over but some states have protections
for ages younger than 40)
- Genetic Information
Other ways that an employee may be considered terminated besides discrimination are:
– Under civil rights laws of the United States, an employer cannot fire an
employee formaking a claim of
- Employeerefusing to illegally act – An employee cannot be fired for refusing to commit an illegal activity for the
- Employer termination policy not followed– If an employee is terminated and an employer has not followed his own termination policy outlined, the employee
may have a case for termination.