How Unemployment Works

Wrongful Termination

Experts estimate that 150,000 people face wrongful termination each year in the United States [source: ACLU]. Wrongful termination is an allegation that an employee was fired without proper cause or on discriminatory grounds. Many such allegations result in wrongful termination or wrongful discharge lawsuits, in which plaintiffs often sue for lost wages, compensatory damages, attorney’s fees, punitive damages, reinstatement or required reasonable accommodations.

There are many potential reasons for a wrongful termination suit. If you believe you were fired for any of the following circumstances, you may have a right to sue [source: FindLaw]:

  • Before the end of a contract
  • Reporting a supervisor or “whistle-blowing”
  • Refusing to do something illegal or to work in illegal conditions
  • For reasons that appear to violate federal or state anti-discrimination laws (for example, race or gender)
  • For becoming pregnant or having a medical condition related to pregnancy
  • Taking time off to vote or perform military service
  • Without receiving sufficient warning prior to termination, as specified in the employee’s contract or personnel handbook
  • Refusing to submit to a lie detector test

The Immigration Reform and Control Act bars most employers from firing an employee based on alien status, as long as that person is legally allowed to work in the U.S. [source: FindLaw].

Whether considering a wrongful termination suit for one of the above reasons or any other, it’s best to consult an employment lawyer.