Wrongful Termination: Basis for Lawsuits

Published: 09th January 2009
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Wrongful Termination



Being discharged or fired due to reasons that may seem unfair may be considered as a violation of one of your rights. Even though employees in virtually all states work "at will," in which employees have a right to quit with or without any reason and employers have a right to discharge or fire any employee with or without any reason, there are still some exceptions, as there are some basis for terminating an employee that is illegal. This is called wrongful termination.



Under statutes of wrongful termination, it is illegal for any employer to fire or terminate an employee for certain unlawful reasons in the sight of the law.



Wrongful termination may also be called as wrongful discharge, illegal dismissal, wrongful firing, illegal discharge, wrongful dismissal, or illegal termination.



Illegal Reasons for Terminating an Employee



An employer may fire an employee for any or no reason at all. No matter how unfair it may seem, it is not wrongful termination as long as the reason is not unlawful or illegal.



Some of the reasons for firing an employee, which are against the law that may entitle an employee to file a wrongful termination lawsuit, are the following:



• Retaliation



It is illegal to fire an employee for defending his/her right under state and federal laws regarding anti-discrimination or other laws that prohibit retaliation. An employee may bring a successful retaliation claim even if the underlying discrimination claim does not become successful.

One example of this is when an employer terminates an employee for complaining that the former has denied the latter a promotion due to his/her national origin, then it is possible for the employer to lose a retaliation lawsuit even if his/her decision concerning the promotion was proven not discriminatory.



• Discrimination



Under certain federal laws, employers are prohibited to discharge any employee due to the following:



• Race



• National origin



• Gender



• Disability



• Age



• Religion



• Pregnancy



• Any medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth



If an employee is fired because of (reasons stated above, then it is regarded as a wrongful termination.



Laws in some states are broader than federal laws, meaning certain states have additional prohibitions and cover a much more number of employers than some federal laws.



• Alien Status



Under the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act or IRCA, it is unlawful to terminate an employee based on one's alien status.



• Complaining about Violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)



It is unlawful for any employer to discharge an employee because of complaining that the work conditions do not meet the state and federal health and safety rules, under the Occupational Safety and Health Act or OSHA.



• Refusing to Take a Lie Detector Test



Refusing to take a lie detector test is a right of an employee and any employer who terminates employees for this reason is violating the law. Such federal law that prohibits these actions is the Employee Polygraph Protection Act. There are also other state laws concerning the use of lie detector tests.



• Violations of Public Policy



Depending on the state, it is illegal for an employer to fire an employee for violating public policies.



An employee who has been fired for unlawful reasons may be entitled to file a wrongful termination claim under the law. It is important to be aware of your rights and to know how it can be protected.



If you have been wrongfully terminated by your employer, you may file a claim under the wrongful termination law. Log on to our website and dial our toll-free number to consult with our skillful attorneys regarding your legal concerns.

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