Wrongful termination or wrongful discharge describes a situation in which an employee’s contract of employment has been terminated by the employer in circumstances where the termination breaches one or more terms of the contract of employment or a statute provision in employment law. It follows that the scope for wrongful dismissal varies according to the terms of the employment contract and varies by jurisdiction. Note that the absence of a formal contract of employment does not preclude wrongful dismissal in jurisdictions in which a de facto contract is taken to exist by virtue of the employment relationship. The terms of such a contract may include obligations and rights outlined in an employee handbook.
Being terminated for any of the items listed below may constitute wrongful termination
- Discrimination – An employer cannot terminate employment because the employee is of a certain race, nationality, religion, sex, age, or in some jurisdictions, sexual orientation
- Retaliation – An employer cannot fire an employee because the employee filed a claim of discrimination or is participating in an investigation for discrimination. In the United States, this “retaliation” is forbidden under civil rights law
- Employee refuses to commit an illegal act – An employer cannot fire an employee because the employee refuses to participate in illegal activities
- An employer is not following own termination procedures – Often, the employee handbook or company policy outlines a procedure that must be followed before an employee is terminated. If the employer fires an employee without following this procedure, the employee may have a claim for wrongful termination.
If you believe you have been wrongfully discharged because of one of the reasons listed above, or if you simply want to know if you have a case, contact the team at Swe Legal today!