Wrongful termination refers to the unjust dismissal of an employee from their job.
Individuals need to be aware of the factors that constitute wrongful termination to protect their rights in the workplace.
Discrimination and harassment
One common form of wrongful termination is firing based on discrimination. If an employer lets a worker go due to factors such as race, gender, age, religion or disability, employment law considers it discriminatory. Harassment can also lead to wrongful termination. If an employee faces a hostile work environment that subjects them to unwanted behavior that results in termination, the law may consider the action wrongful.
Retaliation is another aspect of wrongful termination. If an employer fires a worker for reporting illegal activities within the company, filing a complaint or participating in an investigation, it qualifies as retaliation. Employees should feel safe reporting misconduct without fear of losing their jobs. Virginia’s Whistleblower Law protects employees in these situations.
Violation of employment agreements
Wrongful termination can occur when there is a breach of employment agreements. If an employer terminates an employee in violation of the terms outlined in the contract, the firing is wrongful. This includes situations where an employer fails to follow established procedures for termination.
Public policy violations
Certain terminations are wrongful when they violate public policy. For instance, firing an employee for taking time off for jury duty, military service or for exercising their legal rights is against public policy and the law may deem it wrongful termination.
When a company fires an employee, that individual should take steps to protect their rights if they believe the termination was wrongful.