5 Scenarios That Prove Wrongful Termination

It’s a very bitter experience to have that dream job terminated by your employer. Not just for all the efforts in securing it. A wrongful dismissal makes it hurt the most. While some employers may want to be benevolent and give you the time to clear up the desk, others are just too straightforward with the termination process. But none brings a pleasant experience – nobody wants to lose a job. Losing a job in that manner could make you think of suing the employer for wrongful termination. That is, if they are convinced the dismissal wasn’t right.

Well, there are multiple channels and provision for employees to sue for wrongful termination against their ex-employers, provided the reason for dismissal is doubtful, and the employees desire to sue. Before doing so, here are 5 scenarios that prove wrongful termination that you need to be aware of.

5 Scenarios That Prove Wrongful Termination

1. There is cause for termination in your contract

Most employment contracts allow employers to fire an employee with or without any stated cause. However, your employment contract with your employer can state that there must be a cause (defined therein) before any termination of the contract. In this case, if they proceed to dismiss you without a stated cause, it’s a case of wrongful termination.

2. Dismissed for discussing with colleagues about workplace or labor issues

It is against the National Labor Relations Act for an employer to dismiss an employee for engaging in a “protected concerted activity”. Protected concerted activities are activities like discussing with a colleague on issues concerning the company. Any victim of the above scenario is a victim of wrongful dismissal. However, care should be taken that content of the discussion is not hated speech against your employer.

3. A case of employer retaliation against you

You can prove wrongful termination if you have evidence that your termination is the employer’s retaliation against you for obeying the law. For instance, if you have performed the function of a whistleblower (reporting a wrong activity/illegal conduct against the management), employment laws protect you from being dismissed because of it. The same law also covers employees who fill the workers’ compensation claim.

4. A case of discrimination against you

It’s obviously a wrongful termination when an employee is fired based on gender, nationality or even race. Any termination that is as a result of unlawful discrimination by the employer does amount to a private lawsuit. However, the employee needs to prove reasonable evidence that the dismissal was as a result of illegal discrimination.

5. Dismissed based on medical records

A Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) was passed by Congress in 2008. This act, as well as other employment laws, protect employees’ genes in the workplace. It strictly prevents employers from hiring or firing employees on the bases of genetic information. These can be personal medical records, family medical history or high tendency to develop some illness. If you were fired based on this criterion, you can sue for wrongful termination. When sued, the employer faces strict penalties directly from the government.

It may be important to look beyond suing the employer for dismissing you wrongly. You may have to look at some factors to consider before suing for wrongful termination. Most importantly, make plans on how to move on even if you have made up your mind to sue the employer.


Priyansha Mistry
Currently editor at The HR Digest Magazine. She helps HR professionals identify issues with their talent management and employment law. | Priyansha tweets at @PriyanshaMistry

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