When an individual is hired for a job, they plan on staying with that employer until either he or she makes a job transition or retires. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. For an at-will employee, they could be fired at any time for any reason. It should be noted, however, that this is not always the case. One cannot simply be fired for any reason, and following a firing, an employee may be able to take action for a wrongful termination.
What is a wrongful termination?
In simple terms, a wrongful termination is when an employee is let go for illegal reasons or if the employee’s firing violates company policy of the employment contract established between the employee and employer. Even if an employee is an at-will employee, meaning an employer does not need a reason for terminating an employee, one could be wrongfully terminated if discrimination was involved in the employee’s termination, public policy was violated or the company guidelines for termination were not followed.
A wrongful termination could also occur if an employee blew the whistle on an employer and was terminated for being a whistle blower. Other reasons could include complaining about workplace issues or being unwilling to commit an illegal act asked of by one’ employer. Being fired for any of these would be considered a wrongful termination.
A constructive discharge occurs when an employee feels as though they were forced to leave his or her job because the employer has made the job unbearable. In other words, the work environment became so intolerable for the employee that even a reasonable person would not be able to continue working there.
Losing a job is a difficult event to deal with, especially when an employee believes it was an unlawful firing. Thus, it is imperative that an employee explores their rights and options after they are terminated. Not all terminations are lawful, and could give rise to an action. If an employee believes they were wrongfully terminated, it is possible to take legal steps to address this wrongful act and recover damages for loses suffered.