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Wrongful Termination Laws

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There are no specific laws that provide protection for employees who have been wrongfully terminated from their job.

Rather, wrongful termination may be covered by federal or state laws that prohibit employment discrimination, by contract law if your employer breached an employment agreement, or if the company violated its own policy by terminating the employee.

In addition, if an employee feels he or she was forced to leave a job because the employer made the job unbearable, he or she can file a wrongful termination suit against the former employer for constructive discharge.

However, in most states (other than Montana), employees are presumed to be employed at will, which means that an employee can be fired without notice and without a reason. So unless an employee is covered by an employment contract or collective bargaining agreement or the law has been violated, an employer doesn't need a reason to fire you. Here is a list of exceptions to employment at will.

Wrongful Termination Reasons Protected by Law

  • Breach of contract
  • Constructive discharge
  • Discrimination
  • Employee asked to commit an illegal act
  • Company policy is violated
  • Public policy is violated
  • Whistle blowing

Employment Discrimination Laws

Employment discrimination happens when a job seeker or an employee is treated unfavorably because of his or her race, skin color, national origin, gender, disability, religion, or age. Here's information on employment discrimination laws and what remedies are available to help combat discrimination issues.

Wrongful Termination Recourse

If you believe that you have been discriminated against or haven't been treated according to the law or company policy the US Department of Labor has information on each law that regulates employment and advice on where and how to file a claim. Your state labor department may also be able to assist, depending on state law and the circumstances.

In addition, your local bar association may be able to refer you to an employment lawyer who can provide advice on wrongful termination actions. However, there may be a fee involved, so check in advance what you may need to pay for a consultation and legal services.

Have a Question?

Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about termination from employment, including reasons for getting fired, employee rights when you have been terminated, collecting unemployment, wrongful termination, saying goodbye to co-workers and more.

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