What constitutes wrongful termination?

Unveiling Wrongful Termination: Understanding the Basics


Losing a job is a challenging experience, but when that job loss occurs under circumstances that violate the law or breach employment contracts, it's known as wrongful termination. Wrongful termination is a serious matter that can have far-reaching consequences for both employees and employers. In this article, we'll explore what constitutes wrongful termination, the legal implications, and how to address such situations.

Understanding Wrongful Termination

Wrongful termination occurs when an employee is dismissed from their job in a manner that breaches employment laws or contractual agreements. It involves more than just being let go – it's about the reasons behind the termination and the process that led to it. Common factors that contribute to wrongful termination include:

Discrimination: If an employee is terminated based on protected characteristics such as race, gender, age, religion, disability, or other factors, it constitutes discrimination and is illegal.

Retaliation: Employers cannot fire an employee in retaliation for engaging in legally protected activities, such as reporting workplace harassment, filing a complaint, or participating in whistleblowing.

Breach of Contract: If an employment contract specifies conditions under which an employee can be terminated and the employer violates those conditions, it's considered a breach of contract.

Violation of Public Policy: Terminating an employee for reasons that violate public policy, such as refusing to engage in illegal activities, falls under wrongful termination.

Constructive Discharge: When an employer makes working conditions so unbearable that an employee is essentially forced to resign, it can be viewed as a form of wrongful termination.

Violation of Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing: In some cases, even if there is no explicit employment contract, courts may determine that an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing exists, and wrongful termination could occur if that covenant is violated.

Whistleblowing: If an employee is fired for reporting illegal activities or unethical behavior within the company, it could be deemed as wrongful termination.

Legal Implications of Wrongful Termination

Wrongful termination can have serious legal consequences for employers, including lawsuits, financial penalties, and damage to their reputation. Employees who believe they were wrongfully terminated may seek legal recourse to recover lost wages, benefits, and even compensation for emotional distress.

Addressing Wrongful Termination

If you suspect that you have been wrongfully terminated!Here are steps to consider:

Gather Evidence: Collect any relevant documents, emails, or records that can support your case, such as performance evaluations, employment contracts, and communication with your employer.

Consult an Attorney: Seek legal advice from an employment attorney who specializes in wrongful termination cases. They can help you understand your rights, evaluate your situation, and determine the best course of action.

File a Complaint: Depending on your situation and jurisdiction, you might need to file a complaint with relevant government agencies, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), before pursuing legal action.

Negotiation or Lawsuit: Your attorney will guide you on whether to pursue negotiation or litigation. Many cases are settled through negotiation or mediation before going to trial.


Wrongful termination is a complex issue that hinges on the violation of employment laws, contracts, or ethical standards. Both employees and employers should be aware of their rights and responsibilities to ensure that the termination process is fair and lawful. If you believe you've been wrongfully terminated, seeking legal counsel is essential to protect your rights and navigate the path to resolution.

Can an employer change the terms of my employment contract?

Read More

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) that individuals might ask an employment lawyer

    General Employment Law:
  1. What is employment law?
  2. What are my rights as an employee?
  3. What are my responsibilities as an employer?
  4. What constitutes wrongful termination?
  5. Can an employer change the terms of my employment contract?
  6. How do I file a complaint against my employer?
  7. What is the difference between an employee and an independent contractor?
  8. Can I sue my employer for discrimination?
  9. What is harassment in the workplace, and how is it addressed?
  10. Can my employer retaliate against me for reporting wrongdoing?
  11. Are there laws regarding employee privacy in the workplace?
  12. What is the difference between exempt and non-exempt employees?

  13. Wages and Hours:
  14. What is the minimum wage in our jurisdiction?
  15. Can my employer withhold wages or not pay overtime?
  16. How do I calculate overtime pay?
  17. What breaks am I entitled to during my workday?
  18. Can my employer require me to work weekends or holidays?

  19. Discrimination and Harassment:
  20. What constitutes workplace discrimination?
  21. Can I be discriminated against based on my gender or sexual orientation?
  22. What is a hostile work environment?
  23. How do I prove that I've experienced workplace discrimination?
  24. What steps should I take if I'm being harassed at work?

  25. Family and Medical Leave:
  26. What is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?
  27. How do I qualify for FMLA leave?
  28. Can my employer deny me FMLA leave?
  29. What protections do I have during FMLA leave?

  30. Employment Contracts:
  31. Should I have a written employment contract?
  32. Can I negotiate the terms of my employment contract?
  33. What should be included in a non-compete agreement?
  34. Is my non-compete agreement enforceable?
  35. What are the terms of a severance package?

  36. Health and Safety:
  37. What safety standards should my employer follow?
  38. Can I refuse to work in unsafe conditions?
  39. Can I be fired for reporting safety violations?

  40. Whistleblowing:
  41. What protections do whistleblowers have?
  42. How do I report illegal activities within my company without retaliation?

  43. Workplace Accommodations:
  44. Am I entitled to reasonable accommodations for a disability?
  45. Can my employer ask about my medical condition?
  46. How do I request a workplace accommodation?

  47. Retaliation:
  48. What qualifies as unlawful retaliation by an employer?
  49. Can I be fired for filing a complaint against my employer?

  50. Unemployment:
  51. What are the eligibility requirements for unemployment benefits?
  52. Can I be denied unemployment benefits? What are the reasons?

  53. Worker Classification:
  54. How is worker misclassification determined?
  55. What are the consequences of misclassifying employees as independent contractors?

  56. Employer Bankruptcy:
  57. What happens to my job if my employer files for bankruptcy?
  58. Will I still be paid if my employer goes bankrupt?

  59. Employee Rights during Mergers and Acquisitions:
  60. What are my rights if my company is being acquired or merged?

  61. Workplace Investigations:
  62. What happens during a workplace investigation?
  63. How should I cooperate during an internal investigation?

Law office search