Oliver Davis is a workplace safety expert with a background in occupational health. He's dedicated to helping workers understand their rights and stay safe on the job. Oliver hails from Illinois and is a fan of the Bears.
Understanding wrongful termination is crucial for every employee. Wrongful termination, also known as wrongful dismissal or wrongful discharge, happens when an employee is let go from their job for illegal reasons or if company policy is violated when the employee is fired. Here are some common reasons for wrongful termination:
Unmasking Discrimination: A Common Culprit of Wrongful Termination
Discrimination is one of the most common causes of wrongful termination. It is illegal for an employer to fire an employee based on their race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, religion, age, disability, or genetic information. This is a clear violation of federal labor laws.
Retaliation: When Speaking Up Backfires
Retaliation is another common reason for wrongful termination. If an employee reports a violation of the law by the employer, participates in an investigation against the employer, or exercises a legal right, they are protected from termination. If an employee is fired for any of these reasons, it is considered retaliation and is illegal.
Breach of Contract: When Promises Get Broken
Employees who have a written or implied employment contract and are terminated in violation of its terms may have a wrongful termination claim. It's important to understand the distinction between employment law and labor law to better comprehend this point.
Constructive Discharge: Forced to Quit or Wrongful Termination?
Constructive discharge, or being forced to resign by making the work environment intolerable, is also considered wrongful termination. The employer may not have directly fired the employee, but the employee was forced to quit because of the employer's actions.
Violation of Public Policy: When Firing Crosses the Legal Line
An employer cannot fire an employee if it would violate the state's public policy doctrine or a state or federal statute. This includes firing an employee for taking time off to vote or serve on a jury, or for reporting a violation of law.
Distribution of Reasons for Wrongful Termination Cases
It's important to know that not every unfair act qualifies as wrongful termination. For example, an employer can legally fire an employee because they don't like their personality, as long as it's not protected by law (race, religion, etc.). The key to understanding wrongful termination lies in knowing your rights as an employee.
If you believe you've been wrongfully terminated, it's important to consult with an employment law attorney. They can guide you through the process of filing a claim and represent you if necessary. Remember, you have rights and it's crucial to stand up for them.
For those who have experienced wrongful termination and are preparing for job interviews, it can be challenging to explain the situation. When asked about the reason for leaving your last job, it's best to be honest but brief. Focus on what you learned from the experience and how you're looking forward to bringing your skills and enthusiasm to a new position.
Understanding Wrongful Termination
This quiz tests your understanding of the common reasons behind wrongful termination. Choose the best answer for each question.