Employers cannot fire employees for an unlawful reason even if they are considered at-will employees who can generally be fired at any time. If an employee is concerned that they have been the victim of wrongful termination in their workplace, it is important for them to know what is considered an unlawful firing.
In some circumstances, an employee may be fired unlawfully because they have an employment contract that was violated. For those who do not have an employment contract, a firing may also be unlawful if it was because of discrimination based on race, age, sex, national origin or other impermissible factors. In addition, it may also be unlawful to fire someone for exercising their legal rights such as taking family or medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Likewise, it is unlawful to fire an employee for reporting unlawful activity in their workplace. Whistleblower protections may apply in such circumstances, so workers who have reported unlawful activity in their workplace should be familiar with whistleblower protections. Just as it may be unlawful to fire an employee under certain circumstances, which can be considered wrongful termination, it can also be unlawful to retaliate against an employee in certain circumstances.
It is essential for employees to be familiar with their employment rights and to know how to enforce those rights when they believe they have been violated. We all rely on a job to support ourselves and our families, which is why workers need to know how to protect themselves in their workplaces from wrongful termination and unlawful actions of employers.