Wrongful termination is prohibited and employment laws provide important protections for workers protecting them from wrongful firing and employer retaliation. Firing an employee may be illegal in some circumstances and employees who believe they have been wrongfully terminated should know what those circumstances are.
What is wrongful termination?
It can be illegal to terminate an employee in certain circumstances such as if doing so would violate an employment contract or agreement or violate a federal or state law. One example is that firing an employee because of their religious beliefs would violate federal civil rights laws. Other examples of wrongful termination based on discrimination can include firing an employee based on their race, color, national origin, sex, disability or pregnancy.
It addition to being illegal to fire an employee on the basis of discrimination, it can also be illegal to fire them in retaliation for certain activities which can be considered wrongful termination. Employers are prohibited from firing employees as a form of retaliation such as firing an employee for complaining about wage and hour violations. It can be illegal to fire an employee for engaging in certain protected activities such as informing an employer of discrimination or harassment, filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Committee (EEOC), taking permitted medical leave, reporting violations of environmental regulations or safety laws or engaging in voting or jury service.
Protections under the law
Employment law provides many essential protections for workers to ensure they are not discriminated against, wrongfully terminated or illegally retaliated against. Workers should be familiar with what their employer can and cannot do and how they are protected in their workplaces.