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What is wrongful termination?

Employers usually have a lot of discretion when it comes to hiring and terminated employees. However, in some situations, the letting go of an employee could constitute wrongful termination. In such cases, the wronged employee will have the ability to seek financial claims for compensation against the employer in state or federal court.

Most types of employment fall under the category of "at-will." What that means is the employer may terminate the employee at his or her own discretion. In these situations, employers do not have to have a special reason for firing someone, and they do not have to offer fair procedures or written advanced warning to the employee surrounding the termination.

That said, at-will termination is not possible in all cases. For example, employers are not allowed an at-will termination if it violates the employment contract. In addition, employers are not allowed to fire their employees due to a discriminatory reason like race, sex, religion, or nationality to name a few. Furthermore, employers cannot fire whistleblowers out of retaliation for the employee telling the truth.

On of the most hot-button issues right now relates to discriminatory termination. In these cases, someone might be fired not due to his or her performance, but rather, due to his or her race, national origin, disability, pregnancy, or other reasons.

Wrongfully terminated employees will suffer a lot of financial damages, like lost wages, lost opportunity, and pain, and emotional turmoil. If the wrongful termination and associated damages can be proved in civil court, then the victim of the wrongful termination may be able to recover those damages from the employer.

Source: FindLaw, "What is wrongful termination?," accessed July 29, 2016

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