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What Is Unlawful Termination?

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What Is Unlawful Termination?

Unlawful termination occurs when an employer fires an employee for illegal or unauthorized reasons. This is also known as wrongful termination or wrongful discharge, and makes up a large percentage of the employment lawsuits that are filed each year. Unlawful termination may involve any of the following legal issues:

  • Retaliatory discharge: This is when an employer fires an employee because they filed a complaint against the company (i.e., whistleblowers). By law, workers are entitled to file legal claims against an employer without being discharged for the complaint.
  • Discrimination: A termination because unlawful if it is done in such a way that is discriminatory (for instance, only workers above certain age were fire).
  • Breach of contract: Any termination that breaches employment contract terms might be considered unlawful.
  • Leave: Under state and federal laws, an employee cannot be fired for taking valid family, medical, or personal leave of absence.

In addition, unlawful termination can result if the employer fires a worker who has refused to comply with instructions that are illegal or against the law. Lastly, unlawful termination can occur if the employer violates the company’s own policies during the termination process.

What Are the Remedies for Unlawful Termination?

Unlawful termination remedies may include a monetary damages award issued by the employer to the plaintiff. This will help recover costs such as lost/back wages, court fees, and other expenses. In addition, the employer may be required to reinstate the worker back to the position that they were fired from.

In cases that involve wide-spread discrimination, broader measures may be needed for the business. For instance, the court may order that the hiring staff of the company be replaced or disciplined, or that the hiring policies be re-drafted. These are accomplished through the use of an injunction issued by the court.

Claims for unlawful termination are generally investigated by government agencies such as the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) or OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration).

Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with Unlawful Termination Claims?

Unlawful termination can involve a wide range of legal topics. Some claims may involve several legal issues all intersecting at once. You may need to hire an employment lawyer if you need help filing an unlawful termination claim. Your attorney can provide you with the legal representation and advice that is necessary to succeed in court. Also, your attorney can assist you if you need to file a claim with a government agency.

Photo of page author Jose Rivera

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 03-09-2016 12:18 PM PST

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