Employees count on their income to be able to make ends meet and cover life’s necessities. When a person is terminated from their job, they may feel as though they weren’t treated properly. For the most part, employers are allowed to fire employees. There are a few exceptions to this.
It’s illegal for employers to let employees go because of a protected status or because of retaliation. Federal law outlines what falls under these categories.
What are illegal reasons for terminating an employee?
Employers can’t terminate a person because of things like their gender, color, race, age, disability, pregnancy, religion, or age. They also can’t terminate anyone because they speak out against discrimination or harassment due to those factors.
While employees are expected to follow their employer’s rules, they can’t be required to do anything illegal. Terminating an employee because they refuse to break the law or ignore safety regulations falls under the category of wrongful termination. It’s also illegal to fire a worker if they’re taking time off for serving in the military, voting, or serving on a jury.
Even in “at-will” employment states, employers must ensure they’re only terminating workers for a lawful reason. Contracts and company policies must be followed in all cases or employees can claim wrongful discharge.
Anyone who feels as though they’ve been wrongfully terminated should have the situation reviewed to determine whether it was a lawful termination or not. Some cases can lead to legal action, so it’s imperative that you have someone on your side who’s familiar with applicable laws and can help you get things moving in the right direction. There are time limits to these cases, so be sure to get started quickly.