When you lose a job, it can be devastating. Sometimes, there’s nothing for you to do about it but look for a new one. But sometimes, under certain circumstances, you might have a claim for wrongful termination.
Wrongful termination occurs when an employer terminates an employee’s job in violation of the law or the terms of an employment contract.
Wrongful termination overview
Wrongful termination may include situations where the employee’s termination is based on discrimination and retaliation. Discrimination may include termination based on race, gender, religion or other protected classification.
When an employer breaches an employment contract by terminating an employee without providing the required notice or severance pay, that may also be wrongful termination.
If an employer terminates an employee for reporting workplace harassment or discrimination, for example, that would be wrongful termination based on retaliation.
Retaliation is illegal and employees have options available to them to address it. They may seek damages, reinstatement of their job or other forms of relief.
It is unlawful to retaliate against an employee for requesting accommodation of a disability or for a religious practice, asking managers or co-workers about salary information to determine discriminatory wages or refusing to follow orders that would result in discrimination.
Other examples of retaliation include demotion, negative performance evaluations, exclusion from employee meetings or events, reduced hours or pay, or intimidation for engaging in protected activity.
Generally, for a successful claim the employee must show that they engaged in a protected activity, the employer was aware of the protected activity, the employer took adverse action against the employee, and there was a link between the protected activity and the adverse action.