Was Your Termination Illegal?

Being terminated from your job is a hard enough to deal with, but what if the termination was illegal? Wrongful termination happens when an employee is discharged from employment for illegal reasons or if company policy was violated when the employee is terminated. If you feel as though you were a victim of a wrongful termination, you may have the right to file a claim against your former employer.


An employer may not terminate or demote their employees based on discrimination. Discrimination can come in many forms. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) prohibits employment discrimination. Even though most states are employment at will states, it is illegal for employers to terminate their employees on the basis of discrimination. Discrimination can be based on your race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, religion, or if you are pregnant. If this does occur, the terminated employee has the option to file a claim with the EEOC.


An employer may not terminate, harass or otherwise retaliate against their employee for filing a claim of discrimination, participating in a discrimination proceeding, or otherwise opposing discrimination. Retaliation is prohibited by law when it involves any type of the employment aspect including hiring, termination, wages, promotions, layoffs, fringe benefits, or any other condition of employment. Employees may find themselves being retaliated against after they file a claim or participate in an investigation against their employer. Under these circumstances, the employer cannot terminate or otherwise demote employment of their employees. This may happen after an employee makes a claim of sexual harassment, is a Whistleblower or complains about any other form of discrimination or wrongdoing within the company.

Written Contract Employee Agreements 

Contract employees are hired by a business to complete an assignment or project, and may have expertise related to the subject matter. Their contracts are typically negotiated and can be paid hourly or by the project. If a written contract or other statement that promises job security for a specific length of time chances are, you may not be classified as an at-will employee. Employment contracts change the “at will” relationship, restricting the ability to terminate employees who aren’t working out. Typically the agreement allows for a “for cause” termination unless the contract term has ended. If cause is not shown for early termination of a contract, the employee may have grounds for a lawsuit against the employer.

Business often times use independent contractors rather than employees, due to the flexibility in hiring as well as the cost savings. Misclassifying workers can cause employers to be subject to penalties from the IRS. An employer can be penalized to reimburse wages and pay retroactive taxes and penalties for workers who were misclassified. See Employers- Are You Accurately Classifying Your Employees for more information



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